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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)

  • West Humphreys, U.S. district judge for Tennessee, was impeached and removed from office #OTD in 1862 on charges of refusing to hold court and waging war against the U.S. government
    2 weeks 1 day ago
  • Congress enacted the Judicial Code of 1948 #OTD; among other changes, the code transferred the portions of Yellowstone National Park located in Idaho and Montana to the District of Wyoming
    2 weeks 2 days ago
  • W. Arthur Garrity, Jr., was confirmed by the Senate to the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts #OTD in 1966; best remembered for 1974 order to desegregate Boston public schools via busing
    2 weeks 3 days ago
  • #SCOTUS decided Adamson v. California #OTD in 1947; held that Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment did not make Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination applicable in state courts; overturned by Malloy v. Hogan (1964)
    2 weeks 4 days ago
  • President Dwight Eisenhower nominated Mary Honor Donlon (later Mary Donlon Alger) to the U.S. Customs Court on June 22, 1955; she was the fourth woman appointed to the federal bench, succeeding the first, Genevieve Cline, appointed in 1928
    2 weeks 4 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This three-volume series presents historical documents related to significant debates about the federal judiciary.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.

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