Registration is closed for this event


Larry D. Kramer, President, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation


Today, scarcely anyone questions the importance of the Supreme Court in American government and American politics. Indeed, we are often told we should worry about who becomes the next president because he or she will control appointments to the Court. Was the Court always this important? If not, how did it come to occupy that position? This course will examine some key moments in the history of the Court and the country. It will focus on the Court’s opinions and look at them in the ways a lawyer does, but also study the historical context necessary to understand the evolving role of the Supreme Court. Critical moments we may look at include the Jeffersonian ascension and Marbury v. Madison, the Bank War and McCulloch v. Maryland, Progressivism and Lochner, the New Deal, segregation and Brown, free speech and NYT v. Sullivan, abortion and Roe v. Wade, Bush v. Gore, and others. Our objective will be to get a feel for how the Court works, how it handles controversial issues, and how it has secured its unique position in American politics.


Readings are sent by the Institute to seminar participants. Readings may include:

Kramer, Larry D. The People Themselves: Popular Constitutionalism and Judicial Review. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.

Course Reader

Travel & Accommodations

This workshop will be held at The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation located in California between San Francisco and San Jose in the heart of Silicon Valley. Its 8,180 acres reach from the rural foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains to the bustling Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto.

Stanford is roughly equidistant from the San Jose and San Francisco airports. There are many shuttle companies providing transportation from both, and taxis serve the Stanford campus as well. You can also reach the University Avenue Station in Palo Alto via the Cal Train.

Workshop participants will be housed in a local hotel and provided with a shuttle daily to classes at the foundation.  Please note participants will share hotel rooms.


Meals will be served in a university cafeteria in space shared by other programs. All on-campus meals will be paid for by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

Travel Reimbursement

Each summer seminar participant will receive reimbursement of travel expenses up to $400. Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the seminar.

Participants traveling internationally or from Alaska and Hawaii receive a $500 stipend in lieu of reimbursement upon completion of the seminar.

Applicants to seminars should note that supplements will not be given in cases where the $400 allowance is insufficient to cover all travel expenses.

Our reimbursement policy has changed from previous years. For more information on our policy click here.

Graduate Credit

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is proud to announce its agreement with Adams State University to offer three hours of graduate credit in American history to participating seminar teachers. For more information click here.


Email the Teacher Seminars department or call 646-366-9666.

July 28th, 2013 5:00 PM   through   August 3rd, 2013 9:00 AM
Stanford University
Palo Alto, CA
United States

Show large map
Seminar Fee
Attending $50.00
Not Attending $0.00

Help spread the word

Please help us and let your friends, colleagues and followers know about our page: The Role of the Supreme Court in American History, July 28–August 3

You can also share the below link in an email or on your website.