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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)

  • #SCOTUS decided The Alicia #OTD in 1869; 1864 statute permitting prize cases to be transferred from U.S. circuit court to SCOTUS even if no decree entered was unconstitutional because SCOTUS had only appellate jurisdiction over such cases
    11 hours 41 min ago
  • Ex parte Vallandigham was argued in #SCOTUS #OTD in 1864; former Dem. Rep. Clement Vallandigham was convicted by military commission of expressing sympathy for rebellion and banished to the Confederacy; #SCOTUS held it had no jurisdiction to review an appeal from a military court
    3 days 11 hours ago
  • Senior U.S. District Judge Dominic J. Squatrito (D. Conn.) died January 20 at age 82
    3 days 11 hours ago
  • We have just posted the latest entry in our Spotlight on Judicial History series: A Woman Appears in the Supreme Court: Belva Lockwood's Career in the Federal Courts.
    4 days 9 hours ago
  • We have just posted a new case to our Famous Federal Trials Series: U.S. v. Smith and U.S. v. Ogden: Low politics and high diplomacy meet in the controversial trials of Federalists accused of violating American neutrality in the Age of Revolution.
    4 days 9 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This three-volume series presents historical documents related to significant debates about the federal judiciary.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.

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