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Federal Judicial History

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September 12, 2018

This guide provides information for judges about organizing, managing, and storing physical documents and electronic materials in chambers. It discusses the importance of federal judges' papers as a documentary record of judges' careers and the work of the federal courts. The guide describes how students of the federal courts use judges' papers and offers guidelines for judges' selection of a repository to house a collection.

February 7, 2018

This unique bankruptcy time line maps the evolution of bankruptcy law from its inception in 1787 in the U.S. Constitution through 2018. It also provides statistics demonstrating the burgeoning bankruptcy caseloads, and historical snapshots of select sociopolitical events that occurred along the way.

This updated time line is forthcoming. Requests will be filled as soon as it is available.

January 5, 2018
Jake Kobrick, Daniel S. Holt

The concluding volume of the series covers debates concerning structural changes to the federal courts, including the creation of the U.S. magistrate and U.S. bankruptcy judge positions, and alterations to the federal appellate system, including the division of the Fifth Circuit, the creation of the Federal Circuit, and proposals for a national court of appeals. A section on criminal justice reform recounts debates over access to counsel for indigent defendants, detention before trial, habeas corpus, and the creation of the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

January 1, 2013
Daniel S. Holt
This volume of the documentary history collection 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. The documents illustrate the contending views of lawyers, judges, legislators, legal scholars, and ordinary citizens on the judiciary’s role in American constitutional government.
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January 1, 2013
Bruce A. Ragsdale
The first volume of the Documentary History of Debates on the Federal Judiciary traces the long process of defining the judiciary within the relatively brief outline provided by the Constitution. The volume includes annotated excerpts from debates on the establishment and jurisdiction of federal trial courts, judicial tenure and the impeachment of judges, judicial review of state court decisions, circuit riding and the expansion of the court system to serve a growing nation, and the impact of the Civil War on the federal courts.
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January 1, 2012
Federal Judicial Center

This unique bankruptcy time line maps the evolution of bankruptcy law from its inception in 1787 in the U.S. Constitution through 2011. It also provides statistics demonstrating the burgeoning bankruptcy caseloads, and historical snapshots of select sociopolitical events that occurred along the way.

This 2012 time line is out-of-print. To place an advance order for a forthcoming 2017 update, see here.

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January 1, 2010
Federal Judicial Center Federal Judicial History Office

This guide describes the records of the federal courts, as well as records of Congress and the executive branch, that are relevant to researching federal judicial history. Note: Minor updates may occasionally be made to this document. Please consult the electronic version for the most current information.

 

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January 1, 2009

A publication that discusses the importance of federal judges' papers as a documentary record of judges' careers and the work of the federal courts. The guide describes how students of the federal courts use judges' papers and offers guidelines for judges' selection of a repository to house a collection. The guide also offers recommendations for the management of documents in chambers.

Superseded by A Guide to the Preservation of Federal Judges' Papers, Third Edition (2018).

 

January 1, 2005
Russell R. Wheeler, Cynthia E. Harrison

This booklet explains the provisions of the 1789 Judiciary Act and the compromises it embodies, reviews the evolution of the federal judicial system during the nineteenth century, and analyzes the conditions and debates that led to the passage of the Evarts Act in 1891, which established the three-tiered system that characterizes federal court structure today, and briefly reviews 20th century developments that help account for today's federal judicial system. It also includes twelve maps that illustrate the growth and evolution of the districts and circuits from 1789 to the present.

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January 1, 2004
Federal Judicial Center Federal Judicial History Office

The Federal Judicial Center produced this guide as part of its mandate to "encourage programs relating to the history of the judicial branch of the United States government." The guide surveys the range of historical programs in the federal courts and offers suggestions for courts considering a new program or looking to expand the activities of an existing program. The guide also incorporates the Center's manual on conducting oral history projects.

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