Retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor’s “Our Courts” Web site, aimed at middle-school students, has gone live with two interactive animated games that will, she hopes, engage young people in learning about and appreciating the role of courts in their daily lives.
The game that engaged us the most was Supreme Decision, in which a hypothetical female swing-vote justice — hmm, who might that be? — asks you, the player, to help her reach a decision in a First Amendment case, Ben v. Hamilton Middle School. The dispute involves a student barred from wearing a t-shirt bearing the name of his favorite band, called “Hall of Rejects.” After brief arguments on both sides, the swing justice, named Irene Waters, comes out of the Court’s conference to seek research help from her law clerk — that would be you — on how to decide the case. You then get to listen to mini-debates between justices on each side of the issue, answer questions about their views, and then vote which side to support. The issues imbedded in the dispute are well-explained and presented in an interesting way.
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