University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation
Welcome to The Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse Schoolhouse project. Drawing on real cases and their documents, this website posts teaching materials for lessons that localize constitutional law and practice, communicating to students that they and people like them are key participants in developing and contesting civil rights norms relating to equality, fairness, and liberty.
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Posted below are curricular materials that facilitate teaching about modern civil rights, including trial, court argument, and negotiation role-plays and group debates. Teachers from grades 8 through college can use the materials for lessons that localize constitutional law and practice, communicating to students that they and people like them are key participants in developing and contesting civil rights norms.

Our current unit plans fall into one of the two categories below: "Civil Rights Concepts" and "Mock Trials/Arguments." Additional unit plans in other categories will be posted soon.

Civil Rights Concepts

Civil Rights Litigation: Purposes, Processes, and Promises

Unit Plan Overview
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This unit introduces students to the concept of civil rights litigation, asking them to consider how the litigation process reflects some of the most fundamental values and principles of American constitutional government.

Mock Trials/Arguments

Prisoner Rights Mock Trial: Prison Legal News v. Columbia County

Unit Plan Overview
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In this unit students participate in a trial; using real documents and evidence from a 2013 trial in federal court in Oregon, they will present evidence and argument about whether jail officials can limit inmates' written communication with a "postcard-only" policy, or whether the inmates' free speech rights require a policy that allows them to receive letters and news magazines. Each student is assigned a role: lawyer, witness, judge. The unit helps students to explore the following questions:

  • To what degree do our jails and prisons reflect the values and principles of American constitutional democracy?

  • How are incarcerated people‚Äôs rights protected and limited? How should they be?






Thanks for learning with us!
More unit plans coming soon...