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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.

Spotlight on Judicial History

Twitter Feed (@FedJudicialHist)

  • The Federal Courts Administration Act became law #OTD in 1992; abolished the Temporary Emergency Court of Appeals and transferred its jurisdiction and cases to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit; learn more about TECA here:
    1 day 6 hours ago
  • Just posted: the second essay in our Spotlight on Judicial History series: "F.F.'s Soliloquy." This essay summarizes Justice Felix Frankfurter's unusual approach to deliberations over the controversial WWII case Ex parte Quirin.
    2 days 4 hours ago
  • RT @abapubliced: Visit to learn more about our upcoming free teacher professional development sessions with @FedJud
    3 days 4 hours ago
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Juan R. Torruella (First Circuit) died yesterday at the age of 87
    3 days 6 hours ago
  • RT @abapubliced: Join us and the @FedJudicialHist in November for another two-part teachers virtual PD session! This time we will be tackli…
    1 week 23 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This three-volume series presents historical documents related to significant debates about the federal judiciary.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