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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

The Stanford campus is 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. To do this take the #65 bus from San Jose Airport to Santa Clara Station, or the SFO Cal Train Shuttle from San Francisco Airport to Millbrae.

Stanford University provides detailed driving instructions, as well as further advice on public transportation and the university’s own shuttle system, Marguerite.

Workshop participants will be housed in on-campus dormitories. Participants will be provided with bedding and towels only. Please note that participants should plan to bring alarm clocks, hangers, irons, shampoo, hair dryers, kitchen utensils, etc. Every room is equipped with an Internet connection, but cables are not provided. Participants should plan to bring laptops as computer access on campus will be limited.


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

Participants are responsible for making their own travel arrangements to and from the seminar. Each seminar participant will receive reimbursement of travel expenses up to $400. Please read our complete travel reimbursement policy before applying.

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.

Course Reviews from Summer 2013 Participants

“I had a great experience at the Supreme Court Teacher Seminar this summer. Larry Kramer provided an in-depth review of the history of the court and presented a new approach to judicial supremacy. As he told us at the beginning of the seminar, he was going to treat us like we were first-year constitutional law students and I found the challenge of being in that role very inspiring.”

“The seminar was valuable to me intellectually and because it provided me with new ideas and resources for my classroom teaching. I enjoyed the readings, and the lead scholar and guest lecturers engaged me. I already had interest in the content, but the presentations provided new ways of looking at the material. I like different spins. The suggestions for lessons were also helpful. And, I have become more familiar with the resources available from Gilder Lehrman.”


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

July 20th, 2014 5:00 PM   through   July 26th, 2014 9:00 AM
Stanford University
Palo Alto, CA
United States

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Seminar Fee
Attending $50.00
Not Attending $0.00

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