Courts in the Classroom
Supreme Court of Indiana
Division of State Court Administration
30 S. Meridian Street, Ste 500
Indianapolis, IN 46204
Dr. Elizabeth R. Osborn
Public History and
2011 Outstanding Public
History Project Award
from the National Council
on Public History
*The staff of the judicial branch chose this case as a useful tool to teach an interesting aspect of the law. Its selection has no bearing on how the case will ultimately be decided. Since the members of the Court did not participate in the preparation of the lesson plan; the issues raised in it will not necessarily be addressed in the oral argument.
This lesson is based on the case of Rene v. Reed. A case summary, the appellant's (Rene's) petition to transfer, the appellee's (Reed's) opposition to the petition to transfer, the Court of Appeals opinion and the one-hour webcast of the January 30, 2002 oral argument before the Indiana Supreme Court are all available online.
A separate lesson, giving an overview of the structure of Indiana's court system, is also available to provide students with general information about how Indiana courts work. It can be found on the "Courts in the Classroom" homepage.
A glossary of legal terms used in this and other Courts in the Classroom lesson plans is available on-line as well.
At the end of this lesson students should be able to:
Note: The order of these activities is arbitrary. A teacher might decide to have his or her class watch the oral argument first, and then conduct a mock hearing, or vice versa. In the event that you would like students to watch another oral argument to remain unbiased about this case's content, please return to the main Courts in the Classroom website to select an appropriate case.
The Indiana Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals, and the Tax Court hear oral arguments regularly. Teachers might consider bringing a class to tour the State House and to watch an oral argument. To arrange a special tour of the courtroom or to check on upcoming oral arguments please contact Elizabeth Osborn at (317) 233-8682 or elizabeth.osborn@courts.IN.gov. Guided tours of the State House can be arranged through the tour office at (317) 233-5293 or captours@idoa.IN.gov.
The legal links menu on the Judicial System's homepage provides a wide variety of resources for students and teachers. From this site teachers can link to opinions handed down by Indiana and federal courts, publications and contact information for local and national bar associations, Indiana law schools, and other sites containing legal resources.
If you are interested in viewing an oral argument from another state Supreme Court consider visiting Florida's court website.
U.S. Government.5.13: Practice civic skills and dispositions by participating in a group of activities such as simulated public hearings, mock trials, and debates.
U.S. Government.3.6: Explain the functions of the courts of law in governments of the United States and the state of Indiana with emphasis on the principles of judicial review and an independent judiciary.
U.S. Government.1.13: Examine fundamental documents in the American political tradition..., the United States Constitution, ...the Indiana Constitutions of 1816 and 1851 to identify key ideas regarding the nature of limited government and the protection of individual rights.
This lesson plan was written by Elizabeth R. Osborn, Special Assistant to the Chief Justice for Court History and Public Education. If you have any questions about this lesson, or ORAL ARGUMENTS ONLINE, feel free to contact her at (317) 233-8682 or elizabeth.osborn@courts.IN.gov.