Sample prompts for Supreme Court comparison FRQ– and a Big Question

Roscoe Pound, former dean of Harvard Law School, famously said “The law must be stable but must not stand still.”  Designers of the Supreme Court comparison FRQ for the AP government exam must have been listening.

Consistent with the expectations for this response, I’ve created a few sample prompts, each of which includes one the of the 15 required cases along with a precedent-setting case related to it.

I will add to this list leading up to the exam. Here is a chart with all of the cases– facts, holdings, precedents and significance.

(I’ve also posted samples for the argument essay FRQ here )

Sample Prompt:  Griswold v. Connecticut (1965) and Roe v. Wade (1973)


Sample Prompt:  Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) and Brown v. Board of Education (1954)


Sample Prompt:  Buckley v. Valeo (1976) and Citizens United v. FEC (2010)


In the spirit of Roscoe Pound’s quote, here’s a Big Question I use with students each time we do any sort of comparison between Supreme Court cases.

How does the Supreme Court make sure that the law stays stable but doesn’t stand still?

This question leads to excellent discussions about the role of the Supreme Court in making policy.

If you want to be like Socrates and learn how to make and use essential questions, check out this cartoon and sign up to get Think Alouds showing you how to do it.




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