We have provided links to these sites because they have information that may be of interest to our users. The Supreme Judicial Court does not endorse any independently operated websites. We hope your visit to our site was informative.
Founded and led by Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics provides students with the tools they need for active participation and democratic action, and teachers with the materials and support to achieve this.
Teachers, students, and visitors of all ages are invited to visit the historic John Adams Courthouse, headquarters of the Massachusetts judicial branch. Conveniently located on Pemberton Square between the Massachusetts State House and Government Center, the John Adams Courthouse houses the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, the Massachusetts Appeals Court, and the Social Law Library, the nation's oldest law library. The John Adams Courthouse is generally open for visitors on normal business days, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Court sessions are open to the public. To learn more about tours, email TourRequests@sjc.state.ma.us.
Additional Resources for
The Massachusetts Court System
- Massachusetts Judicial Branch website. Includes links to the Supreme Judicial Court, the Appeals Court, and the trial courts.
- Site of the Office of the Reporter of Decisions of the Supreme Judicial Court and the Appeals Court.
- Social Law Library website. Includes links to Massachusetts court opinions and legal research tools.
- Suffolk University Law School, in cooperation with the Supreme Judicial Court, is broadcasting Supreme Judicial Court oral arguments online. A 2-month schedule of cases is posted at http://www.ma-appellatecourts.org/.
Massachusetts state government
The Massachusetts Constitution
- Text of the Massachusetts Constitution.
The Massachusetts jury system
- Site provides information about the history, mission, functions, and operations of the Massachusetts jury system.
- The Massachusetts Historical Society has many of Adams's papers and correspondence available online.
- The Avalon Project at Yale Law School has numerous historical documents online. The above cite references papers from Adams's presidency.
- Accounts, maps, photos, transcripts and excerpts from historic trials, including the Boston Massacre.
The separation of powers and checks and balances
- A section of Professor Douglas Linder's website on exploring constitutional conflicts. This section explores when the actions of one branch of the federal government unconstitutionally intrude upon the powers of another branch.
- This site, part of the National Constitution Center, contains a lesson on separation of powers and checks and balances.
- From Education World. A lesson plan on separation of powers and checks and balances
- A lesson from the National Archives on the Separation of Powers with emphasis on The New Deal.
The Massachusetts Constitution and slavery
- This online exhibit, a project of the Justice George Lewis Ruffin Society and the Massachusetts Historical Society, traces the African-American experience in the Massachusetts courts.
- The Avalon Project at Yale University includes United States statutes concerning slavery.
- National Park Service site that includes information on Mumbet and Quock Walker
- Site dedicated to Elizabeth Mumbet Freeman
- Site contains information on slavery in the north, with reference to the Quock Walker case.
The United States judiciary and constitution
- Home page of the United States Judiciary. Contains links to federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court.
- Official site of the United States Supreme Court.
- Home page of the National Archives.
- The Avalon Project at Yale Law School has an online, chronological collection of documents relating to the drafting and ratification of the United States Constitution.
- Site promotes annual celebration of Constitution Day (September 17).
- This national museum, which opened in Philadelphia on July 4, 2003, has an excellent website. It includes relevant history, current cases, special exhibits, and educational resources.
- Resource and other materials on fifteen of the most important United States Supreme Court cases. This site is jointly created by the United States Supreme Court and Street Law. Street Law is a practical law curriculum started at Georgetown University Law School; currently, approximately 70 law schools use Street Law programs to teach law in high schools and other community settings.
Many sites provide excellent lesson plans and other educational materials.
The Center for Civic Education has several excellent instructional programs. We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution offers free curricular materials (and teacher training institutes) on the history and principles of constitutional democracy. Different materials are available for elementary, middle, and high school students.
Discovering Justice is a recognized leader in civic education dedicated to preparing young people to value the justice system, realize the power of their own voices, and embrace civic responsibility by connecting classrooms and courtrooms. Discovering Justice places a special emphasis on the needs of children, particularly those from underserved communities.
The home page of Street Law, a program dedicated to providing legal education in schools and other community settings.
This site, created by Professor Douglas Linder of the University of Missouri at Kansas City Law School, contains extensive resource materials on many famous trials, including the Salem Witchcraft trials, the Boston Massacre trial, the Amistad trial, the Sacco-Vanzetti trials, and others.