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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)

  • Today in Cases that Shaped the Federal Courts, we highlight Chisholm v. Georgia (1793): Could states be sued in federal court by individual citizens of another state?
    1 week 5 days ago
  • Today in Cases that Shaped the Federal Courts, we highlight Bivens v. Six Unknown Federal Narcotic Agents (1971): Did the Fourth Amendment create an implied right to sue officials who conducted illegal searches and seizures?
    2 weeks 3 days ago
  • Former U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Kermit E. Bye (Eighth Circuit) died March 20 at age 84
    2 weeks 3 days ago
  • Today in Cases that Shaped the Federal Courts, Walker v. City of Birmingham (1967): Could civil rights protestors challenge the constitutionality of a state court injunction, having already been charged with contempt of court for violating the injunction?
    2 weeks 4 days ago
  • Today in Cases that Shaped the Federal Courts, we highlight Ex parte McCardle: Could Congress remove a pending appeal from the Supreme Court's jurisdiction?
    3 weeks 1 day 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This three-volume series presents historical documents related to significant debates about the federal judiciary.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