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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)

  • Congress clarified the status of the Court of Claims #OTD in 1953, declaring it to be a court created pursuant to Article III of the U.S. Constitution
    5 days 22 hours ago
  • Senior U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Joseph Jerome Farris (Ninth Cir.) died July 23 at age 90
    6 days 21 hours ago
  • John H. Clarke, a judge on the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio, was appointed to #SCOTUS #OTD in 1916; one of two district judges appointed directly to SCOTUS in 20th century (Edward T. Sanford, 1923)
    1 week 2 days ago
  • The Senate confirmed Susan Harrell Black to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida #OTD in 1979; first woman appointed to an Article III judgeship in Florida; appointed to U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in 1992
    1 week 3 days ago
  • RT @abapubliced: Thanks to @SalyerLucy for an engaging conversation on the legacies of Chew Heong v. United States. Recording available soo…
    1 week 3 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This three-volume series presents historical documents related to significant debates about the federal judiciary.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