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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)

  • We have just posted a new entry in our Spotlight on Judicial History series: The Jenner Bill. This piece examines a proposed 1957 bill that would have eliminated #SCOTUS jurisdiction over certain cases involving allegedly subversive political activities.
    2 weeks 2 days ago
  • Senior U.S. District Judge William J. Castagna (M.D. Fla.) died Dec. 18 at age 96
    3 weeks 4 days ago
  • Senior U.S. District Judge Juan M. Pérez-Giménez (D. Puerto Rico) died December 10 at age 79
    1 month 19 hours ago
  • @zvisrosen There is no central repository for that information that we are aware of. You may be able to find year-by-year information in government personnel registers such as these:
    1 month 2 days ago
  • 26/ In NLRB v. Noel Canning (2014), the Supreme Court held that pro forma sessions must be considered when calculating the length of a recess and that a recess of less than 10 days was presumed to be too short for a recess appointment to be made. /end
    1 month 2 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This three-volume series presents historical documents related to significant debates about the federal judiciary.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