History of the Federal Judiciary


History of the Federal Judiciary


  Teaching Judicial History

The Sedition Act Trials – The rise of political parties and the threat of war raise questions about the rights of free speech and a free press.
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The Aaron Burr Treason Trial – John Marshall presides over the treason trial of a former vice president, and the subpoena of President Thomas Jefferson threatens the balance of judicial and executive authority.
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Amistad: The Federal Courts and the Challenge to Slavery – A group of enslaved Africans, who broke free of their captors, enter a federal court proceeding that will determine whether slave property rights are protected by federal law.
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Ex parte Merryman and Debates on Civil Liberties During the Civil War – In the opening weeks of the Civil War, the Chief Justice of the United States publicly challenges President Lincoln to protect the civil liberties of a Confederate sympathizer.
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The Trial of Susan B. Anthony – When the leading advocate of woman suffrage votes in a federal election, a federal court must decide what political rights are protected by the Constitution.
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Chew Heong v. United States: Chinese Exclusion and the Federal Courts – A Chinese immigrant's petition to reenter the United States divides a California federal court and forces the Supreme Court to decide if immigrants' rights are protected by the nation's treaties.
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The Debs Case: Labor, Capital, and the Federal Courts of the 1890s – In the depths of an economic depression, government attorneys seek court orders to halt a strike, and labor leaders defend the right of unions to organize and represent the interests of workers.
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Olmstead v. United States: The Constitutional Challenges of Prohibition Enforcement -- The trial of a well-known bootlegger increases public doubts about the "Noble Experiment" and presents the courts with questions about civil liberties in the age of telecommunications.
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The Rosenberg Trial – The trial of three Communists accused of conspiring to spy for the Soviet Union reflects fears of nuclear war, Soviet aggression, and Communist subversion during the Cold War.
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Bush v. Orleans Parish School Board and the Desegregation of New Orleans Schools – The federal courts' enforcement of the landmark Brown decision provokes a prolonged struggle over state and federal authority.
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The Chicago Seven Conspiracy Trial – Organizers of demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic Convention are charged with inciting riots, and an unorthodox trial reflects the cultural and political divisions of the era of the Vietnam War.
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