Carter Text Legal Analysis Paper

GOVT 301 – Judicial Process
Carter Text Legal Analysis Paper
George Mason University — Fall 2020
The purpose of this paper is to analyze a U.S. Supreme Court case using the methods of legal analysis
found in Chapters 1-3 of the “Reason in Law” textbook by Carter and Burke. You must analyze one of the
cases listed below.
In particular, you should use the four factors of legal reasoning found in Carter Chapter 1 (Case Facts,
Social Background Facts, Rule of Law, Widely Shared Values). Try to determine how effective the majority,
dissenting and concurring opinions were in explaining and in harmonizing the four factors. In addition, look at
issues such as fact freedom, precedent, change and stability in law as addressed in Chapter 2 of the text.
Lastly, the Justices may discuss the role of the Common Law and its tradition as found in Carter chapter 3.
The paper should be at least five pages and not longer than nine pages (double-spaced, one-inch
margins, Times Roman 12 pt). All outside references used should to be listed in a bibliography. This is not a
research project, but an analysis project. You want to focus on analyzing the text of the opinions in the case.
Outside references should be used to provide context and to help you understand the issues and judicial
arguments in the case. The first page of the paper should provide a brief summary of the case, the issues and
the holding before getting into the analysis of the Justices’ opinions using the Carter text.
You can find copies of the cases on the Supreme Court website or from the Legal Information Institute
at Cornell Law School. In addition, a Google search should help you find background information on the case
and the issues. Law reviews on the case using the Hein Online database on the GMU library website may be
helpful in explaining the case issues. Lastly you might want to check: SCOTUS Wiki or SCOTUS Blog on the
internet for helpful case information. (SCOTUS means Supreme Court of the United States).
All the cases listed are from relatively recent and highly contested Supreme Court cases. Remember
your job is to provide an analysis using the Carter & Burke model and not to take sides or provide a generic
discussion of the case.
You must select one of the following U.S. Supreme Court cases for your paper:
Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, 561 US 1; 130 S. Ct 2705 (2010)
Kennedy v. Louisiana, 554 US 407; 128 S. Ct. 2641 (2008)
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 US 50 (2010)
Chamber of Commerce of the United States v Whiting, 563 US 582 ; 131 S. Ct. 1968 (2011)
Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc, 573 US _, 134 S. Ct. 2751 (2014)


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