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Federal Judicial History

The Center conducts research and produces resources on the history of the judicial branch of the federal government.  These resources include compilations of historical data on the courts, information about judges and judicial administration, as well as publications on federal judicial history. The Center also maintains a biographical directory of Article III judges from 1789 to the present, engages in outreach and education on federal judicial history, and works to promote the preservation of the history of the judicial branch.

Twitter Feed (@FedJudicialHist)

  • Former U.S. District (E.D. Tex.) and U.S. Court of Appeals Judge (5th Cir.) Robert M. Parker died August 27 at age 82
    3 weeks 19 hours ago
  • The first "Rules of Practice for the Courts of the U.S. in Admiralty and Maritime Jurisdiction" by #SCOTUS went into effect #OTD in 1845; read more about federal court rulemaking before the Rules Enabling Act of 1934:
    3 weeks 21 hours ago
  • RT @abapubliced: Educators! Looking for ideas on integrating historic immigration debates in your class? Watch the video of our two-part we…
    3 weeks 21 hours ago
  • Following death of Judge James Jones of S.D. Cal., Congress authorized Judge Ogden Hoffman of N.D. Cal. to serve both districts #OTD 1852; he did so until 1854; served entire state again when it was made one district 1866-1886
    3 weeks 1 day ago
  • Robert Morris received a recess appointment to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey from George Washington #OTD in 1790; only judge to serve during brief existence of Eastern & Western Districts of NJ (1801-1802)
    3 weeks 4 days ago


Debates on the Federal Judiciary: A Documentary History

This three-volume series presents historical documents related to significant debates about the federal judiciary.

Volume I: 1787-1875
The first volume traces the long process of defining the judiciary within the relatively brief outline provided by the Constitution.

Volume II: 1875-1939
Volume II introduces readers to public debates on proposals to alter the organization, jurisdiction, and administration of the federal courts, as well as the tenure and authority of federal judges, during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. 

Volume III: 1939-2005
The concluding volume of the series covers debates concerning structural changes to the federal courts, criminal justice reform, proposed civil justice initiatives, and the discipline of federal judges.

Approaches to Federal Judicial History

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This volume presents a range of scholarly approaches to the field of federal judicial history. Essays by scholars and public historians evaluate the current state of the field and offer insights into new potential areas of study.

To submit questions about federal judicial history, email us at