The Supreme Court

Professor Harpaz

Fall, 2006

Important Decisions from the 2005-06 Supreme Court Term

(1) Please read the edited versions of the following three cases:

Garcetti v. Ceballos

Georgia v. Randolph

Hamdan v. Rumsfield

(2) After reading the cases, try and analyze the general views of the nine Justices as reflected in their votes and decisions in this combination of three cases.

(3) After reading the cases, think about the attitudes toward precedent reflected in the cases.

(4) Approaches other than reliance on precedent are important to the process of constitutional interpretation. After reading the cases, identify places in the various opinions where the Justices reveal their approaches to constitutional interpretation. To what extent do they rely on the original understanding of the document, to what extent do they derive its meaning from deeply rooted American values, to what extent do they interpret the constitution in light of their understanding of the appropriate roles played by the various actors in our system of government?

5) What competing values clash in these three cases? How do the individual Justices balance these competing values?