You and the Constitution


To appreciate the enormous impact the U.S. Constitution has on your life, imagine for a moment that it does not exist. What difference would this make?

The U.S. right have remained the loose confederation of independent states, each one making its own decisions about political, social and economic matters. Some states, for example might give the right to vote, serve on juries, and to receive equal pay for equal works; others might not. Some states might allow government to establish and pay for religious education others might not.

In terms of the day-to-day lives of individuals, the U.S. Constitution – both the original document and amendments that have been added in the past 200 years– has a tremendous impact.

The Constitution’s history of success is credited to its writers, men who, with a vision of their new nation, created a flexible document that could be adapted as society changed.

How much do you know about the Constitution? The following questions test your knowledge of how the Constitution affects the lives of young people. The answer to each question is either “true” or “false” for a total of 10 points.


1. All Americans have unlimited right to freedom of expression.

2. The U.S. Constitution recognizes that the good of society must outweigh the rights of the individuals.

3.     A young person can be asked to testify against himself in a juvenile court proceeding.

4.      A juvenile has a right to a lawyer if accused of a crime.

5.      Minors have the same trial by jury as adults.

6.      High school students have a right to conduct a political demonstration at school.

7.      A principal can stop the publication of a school newspaper it it is saying bad things about the school.

8.      If a juvenile is arrested his or her parents must be informed immediately.

9.      If a school official searches a student’s locker without a search warrant, nothing that is found can be used against the student.

10.  Young people have the same rights under the U.S. Constitution as adults.


Take this quiz before and after the Constitution is studied in class. Answer can be found in class.


9-10 right              Constitutional scholar

7-8 right             Knowledgeable citizen

5-6                                     Average person on street

4 or fewer            You are not looking out for your rights! 


Case study challenges


Case study form

1)      Facts of the case.

2)      Constitutional question involved

3)      Results of the case

4)      Precedent set or upheld by Court.


Cases  (Constitutional cases will be updates periodically through the year)


Marbury v. Madison 1803


Dred Scott v. Sanford 1857


Engel v. Vitale 1962


Escobedo v. Illinois 1964


Furman v. Georgia 1972


Gideon v. Wainwright 1963


Gibbons v. Ogden 1824


Miranda v. Arizona 1966


Plessy v. Ferguson 1896

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Last updated: 04/06/2005.