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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)

  • @marinklevy @SCOTUSPlaces That's an intriguing idea!
    17 hours 52 min ago
  • Today in Cases that Shaped the Federal Courts, we highlight City of Boerne v. Flores (1997): Could Congress reverse the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution through a statute purportedly enforcing the Fourteenth Amendment?
    19 hours 14 min ago
  • Today in Cases that Shaped the Federal Courts, we highlight Louisville, Cincinnati, and Charleston Rail-road Co. v. Letson (1844): Should a corporation be considered a citizen of a state for purposes of federal jurisdiction?
    1 day 19 hours ago
  • Today in Cases that Shaped the Federal Courts, we highlight Mistretta v. United States (1989): Could Congress create an independent judicial agency to guide courts in setting criminal sentences?
    2 days 18 hours ago
  • Today in Cases that Shaped the Federal Courts, we highlight Osborn v. Bank of the United States (1824): Could Congress grant the Bank of the United States the right to sue and be sued in the federal courts?
    3 days 19 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This three-volume series presents historical documents related to significant debates about the federal judiciary.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