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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)

  • RT @abapubliced: Want to learn from amazing teachers like @ShariConditt and incredible scholars like @SalyerLucy ? Come join us for our fre…
    7 hours 19 min ago
  • Congress clarified the status of the U.S. Customs Court (reorganized as U.S. Court of International Trade in 1980) #OTD in 1956, declaring it to be a court created pursuant to Article III of the U.S. Constitution
    7 hours 26 min ago
  • President Jimmy Carter appointed Carolyn Dineen King to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit #OTD in 1979; one of the first two women (w/ Phyllis Kravitch, also 1979) appointed to the court
    1 day 5 hours ago
  • Congress enacted a major federal judgeship bill #OTD in 1984, authorizing 24 new seats on the U.S. courts of appeals and 61 seats (53 permanent, 8 temporary) on the U.S. district courts
    4 days 7 hours ago
  • Congress organized the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska on July 7, 1958, to be effective upon statehood, Jan. 3, 1959
    6 days 7 hours 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This three-volume series presents historical documents related to significant debates about the federal judiciary.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