Our understanding of the law changes over time. Often, these changes take the form of landmark cases—Supreme Court rulings that shift interpretation of the law.

How has our understanding of justice changed over time? How does the judicial branch protect your rights? What mistakes has it made? What challenges and opportunities lie ahead? Come learn about American history through the eyes of landmark Supreme Court cases.

Exhibit Topics & Activities


Rights in a Criminal Case

How does the Constitution protect your rights in a criminal case?

Learn about three cases that shaped our modern understanding of your constitutional rights in a criminal case with Mapp v. Ohio, Gideon v. Wainwright, and Miranda v. Arizona.


Limits on Free Speech

Can the government restrict your right to free speech?

Learn how the court has broadened the scope of what is considered “protected speech” over time in Schenck v. United States, Brandenburg v. Ohio, and Texas v. Johnson.


Rights as a Student

Can schools restrict their students’ free speech?

Learn about the unique role of schools and how this affects their relationship to free speech in Tinker v. Des Moines, Bethel School District #403, and Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L.


Racial Discrimination

How does the Constitution protect against racial discrimination?

Learn how the Supreme Court’s answer to this question has changed through examining three iconic cases Dred Scott v. Sandford, Plessy v. Ferguson, and Brown v. Board of Education.


Voting Rights

How does the Constitution protect your right to vote?

Learn about historic and modern cases that shape our voting rights in Minor v. Happersett, United States v. Reese, and Shelby County v. Holder.



Landmark cases aren’t only about the relationships between people and government. Sometimes, they examine the relationships between different governing bodies. When these questions involve Native American tribes, the court has to take into account treaty law and matters of sovereignty.

Come learn how these sovereignty cases may not be about all individuals, but every American is still affected by their outcome, such as in the 1999 case Minnesota v. Mille Lacs Band of Chippewa Indians.