Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

The Best Sites To Learn About The U.S. Supreme Court


(Note: Even though I originally posted this list when Sonia Sotomayor was nominated, I’ve been updating it since that time. You’ll find links related to Justice Steven’s retirement, along with general Supreme Court links)

Today, President Obama nominated Sonia Sotomayor to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Sotomayor is the first Latina ever nominated to serve on the Court. To quote from the National Public Radio report on her nomination:

“Sotomayor was raised in a housing project in New York’s South Bronx by Puerto Rican parents who came to the United States during World War II. Her father was a factory worker who had a third-grade education and spoke no English. He died when she was 9, a year after she was diagnosed with Type 1, or juvenile, diabetes.”

The nomination of Judge Sotomayor provides a great opportunity to both help English Language Learners see that they can indeed aim high in their own lives, and to help them learn about the Supreme Court and the U.S. judicial system.

Here are my picks for The Best Sites To Learn About The U.S. Supreme Court (and are accessible to English Language Learners):

EL Civics has a good introduction to the Supreme Court that’s specifically designed for ELL’s.

Ben’s Guide To U.S. Government has a slightly more detailed explanation.

Scholastic has a good explanation of how the Supreme Court works.

The Associated Press has an interactive overview of the Court.

Here’s another short description of the responsibilities of the Court.

Scholastic News has a report on the nomination of Judge Sotomayor.

Here’s a New York Times slideshow on Sotomayor.

The New York Times also has a video of the President’s announcement and Sotomayor’s comments.

CBS News also has a slideshow on Sotomayor.

TIME Magazine has a slideshow on her, too.

National Public Radio another slideshow on Sotomayor.

You Be The Judge is a good interactive about the American judicial system, though not specifically on the Supreme Court.

Courts In The Classroom is an animated and interactive look at the United States legal system.

Our Courts has a video and some simple lesson plans on the court system. It also has a game on its site called Supreme Decision: Ben’s T-Shirt, but it doesn’t seem very engaging.  It does provide audio support for the text, though, which increases its accessibility.

How Stuff Works has short videos about the Supreme Court.

Milestones: Sonia Sotomayor
is an interactive feature from The New York Times.

Before Judge Sotomayor, There Was Sonia is another interactive from The New York Times.

Here is a short video about Sotomayor’s life.

PBS has a series of Court-related games, though they might only be accessible to advanced ELL’s.

There are several interactive timelines about the Supreme Court that would probably only be accessible to high-Intermediate or Advanced ELL’s:

The Bill of Rights Institute Supreme Court Timeline

CBS News Supreme Court Timeline

PBS Court Timeline

You can also take a panoramic tour of the Supreme Court here.

Voice of America Special English has a report on the nomination of Sotomayor and provides audio support for the text.

Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is a TIME Magazine slideshow about the retiring justice.

Stevens Leaving Court After 34 Years is a similar slideshow from The New York Times.

The New York Times has an interactive timeline of Elena Kagan’s life. She is going to be President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court.

Elena Kagan, In Photos is a Wall Street Journal slideshow.

Meet The U.S. Supreme Court Justices is an interactive from MSNBC.

The Associated Press has an interactive on Kagan and the Supreme Court.

Who Is Elena Kagan? is a video from CNN.

ABC News has a video on Kagan.

10 Ways to Study the U.S. Supreme Court With The New York Times is from The New York Times Learning Network.

Elena Kagan’s Biography is an interactive from The Wall Street Journal.

Obama Nominates Kagan is a slideshow from The Wall Street Journal.

Who Is Elena Kagan? is a TIME magazine slideshow.

GOOD Magazine has published a fascinating infographic on U.S.Supreme Court confirmation hearings (and the word “fascinating” is not one used to typically describe those events) titled Supreme Questions. Here is how they describe it:

After an extensive confirmation hearing, the Senate will vote on Elena Kagan’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court this week. But what, exactly, did they talk about? A new study has looked at the questions asked to each potential justice since 1939. Mostly, they talk about inconsquential matters, but examining the questions asked over the last 70 years gives insight into the issues that have faced our country and the court.

The New York Times has published an interactive quiz with six questions. It will show if you have a liberal or conservative position on six issues; what the majority of Americans believe on the issue, and how the Supreme Court has ruled on it.

The Associated Press has published an updated interactive on the nomination and confirmation of Elena Kagan.

15 Supreme Court cases that changed America is a CNN slideshow.

Suggestions and feedback, as always, are welcome.

If you found this post useful, you might want to look at previous “The Best…” lists and also consider subscribing to this blog for free.

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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