U.S. Supreme Court Case Essay
(Since this is a Criminal Law class, please only use cases that have an issue arising out of
criminal law. Also remember that you cannot reuse a case that you briefed in another class as that
is considered plagiarism.)
1. The following presentation is intended to help students complete the Supreme Court case
essay assignment for Criminal Law.
2. Choose a Supreme Court case that interests you. You may choose any case on a criminal law
topic heard by the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) to research and write an essay
about it. However, please choose a case that was heard by the Supreme Court from 2009 to the
present. Again, please do not choose a case that is older than 2009. This will help ensure that you
are writing your essay on current, relevant case law. One example is Birchfield v. North Dakota,
579 U.S. ____ (2016), but there are hundreds more!
3. Research the details about the case (answer the 5 research questions: Who, What, When,
Where and Why). Take notes about what you discover. Note the sources of your information.
You must list your sources at the end of the essay in Bluebook or APA citation format, use proper
footnotes in Bluebook format throughout the essay or you may use in-text citation if you are
using APA, and properly cite the sources of each piece of information in the essay itself. For
details on how to do this, please review the Legal Studies Program Writing Guide in the APUS
Library. Of course you can also use the Bluebook, and you may ask your professor for assistance
as required.
4. After researching a case, organize the information you have collected by making an outline. A
basic structure for organizing your information might be as follows.
A. Introduction:
1. Identify the name of the case and when it was heard before SCOTUS.
2. Identify the parties involved in the case.
3. Briefly describe the focus of the case.
B. Describe the case itself: What was the controversy in the case?