Lawyer & Judge Resources

The U.S. Supreme Court led by Chief Justice John Marshall issued opinions which continue to be vital today. His model of judicial decision-making, as Marshall scholar Charles F. Hobson puts it, essentially “invented American Constitutional law.” As important as the landmark cases like Marbury v. Madison, McCulloch v. Maryland, Gibbons v. Ogden and other cases are, Marshall’s masterful opinions established the proper role of the courts as a co-equal branch of government and the supremacy of the Constitution in our system of government. They laid the foundation for courts to interpret the Constitution to say “what the law is.”  The United States and the Rule of Law as understood in this country would be very different if not for the Marshall Court’s decisions on judicial review, implied powers, federal power over interstate commercial activity and the Contract Clause.

It is important not only for lawyers to appreciate Marshall’s legacy in their practices, but for students, tomorrow’s citizens, to understand the far-reaching impact that legacy has on their lives.

The PDF’s, videos, and slides below will help you prepare for classroom visits and provide suggestions for encouraging discussions with the students about the Constitution, judicial review, the Rule of Law, and our judicial systems.

How it Works

The Lawyer & Judge Resources section of our website contains a video and slide show presentation tools designed to operate like a PowerPoint presentation. The PDF’s may be printed and used in hard copy.

Under a separate menu item called “Lessons & Videos,“ our website includes teacher resources for the Justice in the Classroom program. The Lawyer & Judge resources are designed to support the teacher lesson plans. Teacher lessons are based on the Virginia and national Standards of Learning.

America Exploration to Revolution

1 Section One:
Why John Marshall Matters Today

These Lawyer & Judge Resources are provided to enhance your appreciation of the Marshall Court’s decisions, how they apply in cases today, and remain relevant. Lawyers and judges understand the importance of the Marshall Court’s landmark cases and our judicial system. It is important to convey these principles to tomorrow’s citizens to sustain our democracy and the Rule of Law.

The Rule of Law

2 Section Two:
Chief Justice John Marshall and Judicial Review

Marbury v. Madison, John Marshall’s assertion of the authority of the Supreme Court to review federal, state and constitutional issues, is one of the most important decisions by the United States Supreme Court. While judicial review was not exactly a new concept and was used in English courts and debated in early America, this was the first time it was founded upon a written constitution. In Marbury, Marshall laid the foundations for the judiciary as a co-equal branch of government, judicial independence and the Supreme Court as the final arbiter of the Constitution.

Rule Of Law & John Marshall

3 Section Three:
Landmark Cases - Rule Of Law & John Marshall

Perhaps you have visited a classroom before but lacked materials that are relevant to what students are studying. Lawyers and judges who have these resources can be sure that they are providing law-related education on pertinent subjects in school visits. Additionally, you can relate the materials to your own experiences that will help teachers highlight the legal profession, explain the judicial systems, and underscore the importance of the Rule of Law. Participating lawyers and judges will be able to engage students in meaningful discussions of contemporary cases, situations and their relationship to Marshall-era decisions.

a. A Nurse Can Serve and Protect Too

Too often students will ask “Why do we need to know this?” and we, often, struggle to answer. However, when students are connected to real-world situations and issues, it is easier to answer “why?” Start by showing this short video of a nurse protecting a citizen’s rights and upholding the rule of law and help the students understand WHY it is important for them to stand up for the rule of law and to know their rights.

b. Legacies of the Marshall Landmark Cases

Taking “real-life law” into the classroom is fun! These materials feature cases that interest students and employ techniques that involve them in active learning. It gives lawyers and judges an opportunity to discuss cases and situations as up-to-the minute as they wish and to model a civil dialogue in class about how our founding principles apply today. The United States and the Rule of Law as understood in this country would be very different if not for the Marshall Court’s decisions on judicial review, implied powers, federal power over interstate commercial activity and the Contract Clause.

c. The Rule of Law

Does the mob rule? Do police set the standards for the Rule of Law? These are questions that can be explored with the resources below on Michael Brown and the Ferguson case, or from your individual experience. This is your opportunity as a judge or lawyer to use your experience to discuss a citizen’s rights and responsibilities under the Rule of Law.

Judicial Systems

4 Section Four:
The Judicial System – Federal and Virginia

Here Comes the Judge!

The Judicial System resources provide the visual tools you need to explain the Federal and Virginia courts. They show the levels of court systems, their jurisdiction and the appellate process.