Research Links and Discussion Questions for September 2022 Issues

Aug 9, 2022 | Ideas For Teachers


The U.S. Supreme Court as composed October 27, 2020, to June 30, 2022. (Front row, L to R) Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Clarence Thomas, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., Stephen G. Breyer, and Sonia Sotomayor. (Back row, L to R) Brett M. Kavanaugh, Elena Kagan, Neil M. Gorsuch, and Amy Coney Barrett.

Issue 1: Protecting Our Kids Act H.R.7910 “Protecting Our Kids Act”
Congressional Budget Office: “Estimated Budgetary Effects of Protecting Our Kids Act”
RAND Corporation: “Gun Policy in America — Effects of Minimum Age Requirements”
Pew Trusts: “Few States Seem Ready to Raise Age to Buy Semi-Automatic Rifles”
The Hill: “House Passes Sweeping Gun Package in Largely Party-Line Vote”
Fox News: “House Votes to Set Minimum Age for Buying Semi-automatic Weapons”

Issue 2: Judiciary Act S.1141 “Judiciary Act of 2021”
Sen. Roy Blunt Op-Ed: “Don’t Pack SCOTUS, Truth Behind Democrats’ Push for Reform”
Rutgers University: “What Is Court Packing?” “House Democrats Revive Their Court-Packing Push” “The Court as an Institution”
Pacific Legal Foundation: “Court Packing Explained”
Democracy Journal: “Let’s Think About Court Packing”


Issue 1: Protecting Our Kids Act
1. If passed, would the Protecting Our Kids Act would be effective at reducing gun violence and mass shootings in the U.S.? Why or why not?
2. Do you think raising the age from 18 to 21 to purchase semiautomatic weapons would reduce school shootings? Why or why not?
3. Looking at the pro/con quotes made by members of Congress on p. 3 of the newsletter, what do their statements tell you about the bill?
4. Search for #ProtectingOurKidsAct on Twitter and/or other social media sites. How do others’ perspectives help you understand the bill?
5. In Japan there are strict gun control laws and so there is very little gun crime. Should all countries follow Japan to lower gun crime?

Issue 2: Judiciary Act
1. Should packing the Supreme Court ever be considered? Why or why not?
2. Does the current method of waiting until a Justice retires or dies and allowing the current president to appoint a new justice work? Why or why not?
3. If you could wave a magic wand, what would the ideal Supreme Court look like? Consider how many justices, the nomination and approval process, term limits, and other ideas. Support your opinions and argue why this court would be the best.
4. What are the steps in the nomination process for Supreme Court Justices? What constitutional actors are involved?
5. What qualities should a Supreme Court justice have? How much does a candidate’s political ideology influence a presidential nomination today?