Voices of American Law
This Project is an initiative of the Duke University School of Law to provide high-quality educational materials to assist in studying the Supreme Court and its role in American society. We have selected important topics in American constitutional law and identified a number of critical cases. In those cases, we have prepared detailed 20-minute case documentaries focusing on interviews with the parties themselves, their lawyers, and the judges who shaped the case. These videos tell the stories of the real people behind the Court's opinions, and they present an exceptional opportunity to bring the cases alive to students in the classroom.
It is impossible to hear the stories of people like Barry Black, Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who was arrested for cross-burning in Virginia v. Black; or Senator Ernie Chambers from Nebraska, who challenged the State Chaplain in his State; or Susette Kelo, who didn't want to sell her house so that New London could turn her neighborhood into a mixed-use waterfront development, without becoming profoundly interested — and better informed — about what is at stake. Once the student is engaged, the true opportunity to teach the case is realized.
This website also includes court documents and opinions, articles, interviews, and photographs related to the cases studied. We invite you to take a tour and determine which materials are useful to your own coursework.
Thomas Metzloff is a professor of law at Duke Law School. He teaches civil procedure, ethics, and dispute resolution, as well as a course about the American legal system for international students. He was a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Byron R. White from 1980 to 1981.