Supreme Interpreters

There’s Always a New Twist

Interpreting the Constitution is a never-ending job. New situations are a always coming up where people believe their rights have been violated. Often these cases are similar to cases from the past — but they’re not exactly the same. Certain details make them different. Consider these cases the Supreme Court decided recently:

Judges & Money. In many states, judges running for election are not allowed to ask for money to support their campaign. Other people can ask for them, but the judges themselves cannot ask. That’s so judges can’t be seen as letting campaign donations affect the decisions they make in the courtroom. But does this rule violate the judges’ freedom of speech? 

Specialty License Plates. In the State of Texas, drivers can get license plate designs that support many causes. A group called the Sons of Confederate Veterans applied to have a license plate design supporting its group. Texas rejected the application because the design included an image of a Confederate flag. The state said many people see that flag as a symbol of hate against certain kinds of people. Did the state violate the group’s right to freedom of speech?

Follow the link to see how many groups Texas has approved for specialty license plates!

Response Question: 
  • Think about everything you’ve learned in this WebQuest. What if the Supreme Court did not have the power to interpret the Constitution?
  • Click here to see the result in the judges case. (Look for the "holding.") What did the Court decide?
  • Click here to see the result in the license plate case. (Look for the "holding.") What did the Court decide?
Response not required