Topic 5

The Constitution, Amendments, and Supreme Court Decisions

The media literacy activities in this section explore the Prohibition era in U.S. history, efforts to pass the Equal Rights Amendment and the Equality Act, how the Civil War is presented in historical publications, how race and gender are represented on U.S. currency, the importance of reading aloud Supreme Court dissents, and the potential impacts of cameras in federal and state courtrooms. There is a Critical Media Literacy digital choice board focusing the Constitution, its amendments and landmark Supreme Court decisions.

The United States Constitution sets forth a government, in Abraham Lincoln’s famous phrase, “of the people, by the people, for the people.” It is a living, evolving document, its meaning changing over time through Congressional use of the “necessary and proper clause,” the passing of amendments, and decisions by the Supreme Court under its practice of judicial review. 

The Civil War challenged the very existence of the Constitution in its dispute over the continuing slavery of Black Americans. Indeed, all of U.S. history has included struggles by individuals and groups to achieve constitutionally guaranteed civil rights and equal protection for race, gender, and disability.

A The Postal Service issued a 32-cent Women's Suffrage commemorative stamp, in a pane of 40, in Washington, DC, on August 26, 1995. The issuance of this stamp marked the anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
19th Amendment Commemorative Postage Stamp by is licensed under CC BY SA 4.0

Media Literacy Activities Choice Board

The Constitution, Amendments, and  Supreme Court Decisions Media Literacy Choice Board
The Constitution, Amendments, and Supreme Court Decisions Media Literacy Choice Board (view)
(make your own copy of this choice board to remix/share/use)

Media Literacy Activities

Prohibition in the MediaThe Equal Rights Amendment on Twitter and Other Social Media Civil War Era News Stories and Recruitment AdvertisementsRepresentations of Gender and Race on U.S. CurrencyThe Equality Act on TwitterReading Supreme Court Dissents AloudTelevision Cameras and Other Media in Courtrooms

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