An understanding of United States politics includes the study of the development of individual rights and liberties and their impact on citizens . Basic to this study is an analysis of the workings of the United States Supreme Court and familiarity with its most significant decisions . Students should examine judicial interpretations of various civil rights and liberties such as freedom of speech, assembly, and expression; the rights of the accused; and the rights of minority groups and women . For example, students should understand the legal, social, and political evolution following the Supreme Court’s decisions regarding racial segregation . Students should also be aware of how the Fourteenth Amendment and the doctrine of selective incorporation have been used to extend protection of rights and liberties . Finally, it is important that students be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of Supreme Court decisions as tools of social change .
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