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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.

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  • 15/ The state then proposed to create the Virginia Women's Institute for Leadership (VWIL), a parallel program meant to train women for leadership in civilian and military life. The state acknowledged that VWIL's program of education would differ substantially from that at VMI.
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  • 14/ The appellate court suggested several possible solutions: Virginia could admit women to VMI, create a parallel institution, cease state funding of VMI, or pursue another constitutionally acceptable course of action of its own choosing.
    2 hours 14 min ago
  • 13/ The Fourth Circuit thus remanded the case to the district court, which was ordered to require VMI to implement a solution that conformed with the Equal Protection Clause and to oversee its implementation.
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  • 12/ "It is not the maleness, as distinguished from femaleness, that provides justification for the program. It is the homogeneity of gender in the process, regardless of which sex is considered," the Fourth Circuit wrote.
    2 hours 15 min ago
  • 11/ However, the appellate court held that Virginia had failed to articulate an important governmental objective to justify offering VMI's unique educational experience to men and not to women. The state's goal of "diversity" in its higher education system did not suffice.
    2 hours 15 min ago

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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This three-volume series presents historical documents related to significant debates about the federal judiciary.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 history@fjc.gov.