Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Saavedra on the Human Rights Network and the Chilean Coup

Manuel Bastias Saavedra, Universidad Austral de Chile, has posted The Unintended Legacy of September 11, 1973: Transnational Activism and the Human Rights Movement in Latin America, which appeared in Iberoamericana 13 (2013): 87-103:
The following article focuses on the impact of the September 11, 1973 coup in Chile on the formation of a transnational human rights network in Latin America. The article discusses the exemplary character of the human rights operations in Chile for other Latin American countries, but focuses on the formation of a transnational infrastructure that stimulated and accompanied the organization of human rights organizations across Latin America. The work of the Latin American churches and their international partners were at the center of the growth of the Latin American human rights movement that began in the 1970s.

Nice Try, Abe!

President Lyndon Johnson, December 11, 1963 (LC)
The other day I had some time on my hands at the National Archives and, as is my wont, started browsing some of its on-line databases.  That's when I finally realized that, thanks to the Miller Center on Public Affairs, I could listen in as erstwhile New Deal lawyers gave President Lyndon Baines Johnson a call.  Here, for example, for example, is Tom Corcoran telling LBJ how much better a recent speech was than anything JFK ever delivered.  But two conversations, from December 11 and 13, 1963, were not only fun but also pedagogically useful.

The last six weeks of my survey course on American Legal History treat the emergence of the New Deal political regime and its "consolidation" in the late 1940s and 1950s.  The last class–entitled, in an homage to a classic article by Richard L. McCormick,“The Discovery that Business Corrupts Administration”–is devoted to how the high hopes for New Deal agencies had in the 1950s run to ground in delay, corruption and incompetence, terrain recently surveyed by Joanna L. Grisinger in The Unwieldy American State.

After reviewing the symptoms and various diagnoses of administrative malaise in the 1950s and early 1960s, I have the class consider various remedies.  Although after the rise of the Consumer Movement the judiciary would become a powerful instrument of reform, they overwhelmingly deferred to the commissions.  I tell the students about Bernard Schwartz's tragicomic experience as Chief Counsel of House Legislative Oversight subcommittee, including his firing after he started investigating his congressional masters, to suggest the limits of the reform impulse within Congress circa the late 1950s.  What about the executive?  At first, JFK's appointments, such as Manuel Cohen, Philip Elman, Newton Minow, and Joseph Swidler, and his commissioning of James Landis to report on the regulatory commissions suggested that rule by the Best Men might be back.  His successor, however, viewed regulatory commissions less as Landis's Fourth Branch of Government than as a political resource to be bent to his will.

Oren Harris (credit)
Abe Fortas (LC)
To illustrate this last point, I recount how LBJ gave Elman "the Johnson Treatment" in a receiving line after Elman publicly criticized FTC Chairman Paul Rand Dixon for not aggressively regulating, thereby outraging Dixon's congressional sponsors.  (Elman tells the story in his oral history, in which he also runs down his fellow commissioners, in a passage I ssign my students.)  But I now realize I should have my students listen to this phone call.  As readers of Laura Kalman's biography of Abe Fortas know, Johnson respected and needed Fortas too much to be dismissive when the Washington lawyer urged the president to create something like the ABA's Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary to review nominees to the federal regulatory commissions.  He even tried out the proposal on Congressman Oren Harris (D-Ark.), who approved.  But, in his conversation with Harris, LBJ seemed intrigued not because a review committee would remove politics from the appointment process but because a ranking of "qualified" might "clean . . . up" nominees chosen for political reasons.  (h/t LK.)

Monday, June 29, 2015

CFP: Law as Culture at Medieval Studies 2016

[We have the following announcement from Sasha Volokh, Emory Law.]

Every year, I run a legal history panel ("Law as Culture") at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Next year's meeting is May 12-15, 2016. Please let me know if you have any medieval legal history papers! Here's a somewhat more specific description of the panel. The description is very general on purpose -- a more specific subject may emerge depending on what sorts of submissions I get. I would really like to get some law-and-economics or institutional economics contributions!

Law as Culture XVII: Substance, Procedure, and Institutions in the Middle Ages

The "Law as Culture" series has been ongoing at Kalamazoo most years since 1994. In the past, organizers have included Richard Kaeuper and Paul Hyams. The Selden Society—the premier scholarly society for English legal history—has sponsored the series since 2000. Past sessions have explored notions of violence, sexuality, time, narrative, and vengeance in the law.

This panel, the seventeenth in the series, will explore the interaction between substance and procedure, with an emphasis on the development of the institutions of government, in the Middle Ages. We welcome submissions from any area, e.g. English, Celtic, Continental, Roman, Canon, and from any period within the Middle Ages. We are especially enthusiastic about interdisciplinary work, merging legal history with, e.g., economics, political science, literature, anthropology, etc. We also welcome submissions from junior scholars and graduate students.

Please send me any suitable abstracts at svolokh at gmail dot com by September 15, 2015.

Farber on the Declaration, the Consitution and the Interpreter's Dilemma

Daniel A. Farber, University of California, Berkeley School of Law, has posted The Declaration, the Constitution, and the Interpreter's Dilemma: An Essay on Historical and Iconic Meaning:
The Declaration of Independence is one of the paradigm texts in American history. It was originally written for a time-specific purpose. But it also has spoken to a broader audience across time, as an icon representing American ideals. After describing how the Declaration has been given both historical and iconic meaning by judges, presidents, and public figures, this Essay considers the relevance of these two forms of meaning to current debates over constitutional interpretation. Originalists generally privilege the historical meaning of texts.

Yet originalist Justices on the Court have acknowledged that iconic meaning also exists and can sometimes be more relevant. In Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460 (2009), these originalist Justices turned to iconic meaning over historical meaning, endorsing dynamic interpretation of monuments -- even those containing texts. Ironically, then, they found fluidity in the meaning of texts that are literally carved in stone.

The Essay closes with a discussion of the interpreter’s dilemma: the tension between fidelity to the past (served by historical meaning) and affirmation in the present (served by iconic meaning).
H/t: Legal Theory Blog

Koziol Reviews the Hyams Festschrift

Law's  Dominion in the Middle Ages: Essays for Paul Hyams, a special issue of Reading Medieval Studies, is reviewed by Geoffrey Koziol, University of California, Berkeley, in The Medieval Review.  H/t Michael Widener.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

With recent events in mind, The New York Times has put together an annotated reading list for "Reading About the Confederacy." On H-Net, there is a review of Caroline E. Janney's Remembering the Civil War: Reunion and the Limits of Reconciliation (UNC Press).
"When analyzing the Union Cause and the Lost Cause, Janney argues, quite correctly in the mind of this reviewer, that the period from 1865 to 1880 was not a period of hibernation or incubation in Civil War memory. Both sides cultivated, advanced, and protected their own interpretations of the Civil War. Union veterans may have regarded the preservation of the Union as preeminent, but they did not overlook the centrality of slavery to the war. Black and white Union veterans “agreed that Union and emancipation served as the dual legacy of their victory” (p. 105). By so doing, they assured that a reconciliationist interpretation of the war would not come to dominate the landscape of Civil War memory. In the South, the Lost Cause fostered “the extension of Confederate nationalism that would encourage resistance and defiance for years to come” (p. 134), and rebels angrily refuted northern claims about emancipation. Both sides, Janney asserts, could embrace reunion, but not reconciliation, and “the battleground of Civil War memory remained contested” (p. 132)."
In the Washington Independent Review of Books, there is a review of Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence (Penguin) by Bryan Burrough.

Yearning to read about Nixon? There's a two-book review in The New York Times covering Tim Weiner's One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon (Henry Holt) and Evan Thomas's Being Nixon: A Man Divided (Random House).

Kevin Kruse's One Nation Under God: How Corporate America Invented Christian America is glowingly reviewed on H-Net.
"Once in a blue moon a monograph comes along that both contributes decisively to an ongoing scholarly conversation and introduces its readers to a plethora of little-known documents, archives, organizations, and individuals."
There are several interesting interviews from the New Books series. For example, they talk with Andrew Hartman about his book, A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars (University of Chicago Press).

Another is an interview with Claire Virginia Eby, covering her work, Until Choice Do Us Part: Marriage Reform in the Progressive Era (University of Chicago Press).

From New Books in American Studies is an interview with Madeline Y. Hsu, whose new book is The Good Immigrants: How the Yellow Peril Became the Model Minority (Princeton University Press).

And yet still one more is an interview with Ted Smith, which discusses his book, Weird John Brown: Divine Violence and the Limits of Ethics (Stanford University Press).

I want to particularly highlight We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement (NYU Press) by Akinyele Omowale Umoja, as I have found his writings to be particular useful in some of my own research. The interview on New Books in History can be found here.

From The New Rambler is a review of Jeb Barnes and Thomas Burke's How Policy Shapes Politics: Rights, Courts, Litigation and the Struggle over Injury Compensation (Oxford).

Also up is a review of Brandon L. Garrett's Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations (Harvard University Press).

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Weekend Roundup

  • John Q. Barrett has announced on his “Jackson List” that Laurence H. Tribe, Carl M. Loeb University Professor and Professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard University, “will deliver Chautauqua Institution’s eleventh annual Robert H. Jackson Lecture on the Supreme Court of the United States.  Professor Tribe will give the Jackson Lecture on Wednesday, July 8, 2015, at 4:00 p.m. in Chautauqua’s Hall of Philosophy.” 
  • In light of the Chief Justice Roberts's opinion in King v. Burwell, I'm indulging in a reprise link to my posts on NFIB, which likened the Chief Justice to Charles Evans Hughes .  While I'm at it, I'll note, as someone who studies the role of lawyers within political institutions, that, in accounting for the ACA's "more than a few examples of inartful drafting," Chief Justice Roberts put the blame where it belongs, on the legislators, not the staffs of the House and Senate's legislative counsels.  DRE
  • The “best place to bone up on Chicago’s legal history”?  The Chicago Reader says it’s the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court archives.  “I’ve seen authors write biographies of Chicagoans, and they never came in to look at the court records,” [archivist Phil] Costello says. “I’m thinking, ‘I know we’ve got a probate file on that guy.’” 
  • Check out the Irish Legal History Society's spiffy new website.  H/t: @Law&HistoryReview
  • The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library has announced “a special digitization project made possible through the support of AT&T” that will bring “together for the first time the President's Master Speech File and the FDR Speech Audio Recordings and makes them available through FRANKLIN, the Library's online digital repository hosted by Marist College.” 
  • Mark Wayne Podvia, West Virginia University College of Law, has posted a history of the Legal History and Rare Books Special Interest Section of the American Association of Law Libraries, written on the occasion of its 25th Anniversary.
  •  ICYMI: "The Man Who Lost the Gideon Case: An Interview with Bruce R. Jacob," on HNN.
  • On October 23, 2015, the Baldy Center for Law and Social Policy will host a conference to mark the 30th anniversary of David Engel's The Oven Bird’s Song: Insiders, Outsiders, and Personal Injuries in an American Community.
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Purcell Backlist, Round 2

In a second round of posts to SSRN, Edward A. Purcell, Jr., New York Law School, has made available some of his more recent publications.

Danner on Langdell and the Labratory Metaphor

Richard A. Danner, Duke University School of Law, has posted Law Libraries and Laboratories: The Legacies of Langdell and His Metaphor, which is forthcoming in the Law Library Journal 107 (2015):
Langdell Hall (LC)
Law Librarians and others have often referred to Harvard Law School Dean C.C. Langdell’s statements that the law library is the lawyer’s laboratory. Professor Danner examines the context of what Langdell through his other writings, the educational environment at Harvard in the late nineteenth century, and the changing perceptions of university libraries generally. He then considers how the “laboratory metaphor” has been applied by librarians and legal scholars during the twentieth century and into the twenty-first. The article closes with thoughts on Langdell’s legacy for law librarians and the usefulness of the laboratory metaphor.

CFP: Law Collecting and Law Collectors

We have the following Call for Papers:
Hosted by the Scottish Council of Law Reporting with the University of Edinburgh 

A conference to address the broad topic of the history of law reporting and the collecting of legal decisions, primarily in Scotland but with the development of law reporting situated in its broader British, European and comparative context. The conference is intended to consider subjects such as how the role of precedent developed, in what form were the earliest records of judicial opinions or decisions, how the form of the modern law report emerged and related issues.

Confirmed keynote speakers include Professor Sir John Baker, Professor John Ford, Professor Thomas Rüfner, and Lord Woolman.

Proposals for papers (proposals should not be more than 400 words in length) should be submitted to secretary@sclr.scot no later than 30th September 2015.

The conference is open to all interested in this subject area. It is expected that the fee, to include meals and refreshments during the conference and a conference dinner (but not overnight accommodation) will be in the order of £150. Please email secretary@sclr.scot if you wish to be sent a booking form.

New Release: Richards, "Who Freed the Slaves? The Fight Over the Thirteenth Amendment"

New from the University of Chicago Press: Who Freed the Slaves? The Fight Over the Thirteenth Amendment (April 2015), by Leonard L. Richards (independent scholar). A description from the Press:
In the popular imagination, slavery in the United States ended with Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. The Proclamation may have been limited—freeing only slaves within Confederate states who were able to make their way to Union lines—but it is nonetheless generally seen as the key moment, with Lincoln’s leadership setting into motion a train of inevitable events that culminated in the passage of an outright ban: the Thirteenth Amendment.

The real story, however, is much more complicated—and dramatic—than that. With Who Freed the Slaves?, distinguished historian Leonard L. Richards tells the little-known story of the battle over the Thirteenth Amendment, and of James Ashley, the unsung Ohio congressman who proposed the amendment and steered it to passage. Taking readers to the floor of Congress and the back rooms where deals were made, Richards brings to life the messy process of legislation—a process made all the more complicated by the bloody war and the deep-rooted fear of black emancipation. We watch as Ashley proposes, fine-tunes, and pushes the amendment even as Lincoln drags his feet, only coming aboard and providing crucial support at the last minute. Even as emancipation became the law of the land, Richards shows, its opponents were already regrouping, beginning what would become a decades-long—and largely successful—fight to limit the amendment’s impact.

Who Freed the Slaves? is a masterwork of American history, presenting a surprising, nuanced portrayal of a crucial moment for the nation, one whose effects are still being felt today.
Reviewer James McPherson says:
"This study of the political drive toward the complete abolition of slavery is most welcome. Leonard Richards has rescued from obscurity James Ashley, who managed the course of the Thirteenth Amendment through the House of Representatives. The reader will come away with greater appreciation for the courage and skill of those antislavery leaders who never gave up and eventually triumphed."
More information is available here.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Podvia on Douglass at Carlisle

Mark Wayne Podvia, West Virginia University College of Law, has posted Frederick Douglass in Carlisle, which appeared in Unbound: An Annual Review of Legal History and Rare Books 5 (2012): 17.  The abstract reads, “Over the course of his lifetime Frederick Douglass is known to have made three visits to Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He nearly lost his life on one of those visits and was denied access to a hotel dining room on another visit. This paper details all three visits.”

Clemente's on the Execution of "Idiots" at Common Law

Michael A. Clemente has posted his student note, A Reassessment of Common Law Protections for “Idiots.” which appears in the Yale Law Journal 124 (2015): 2746-2803.
When the Eighth Amendment was ratified, common law protections categorically prohibited the execution of “idiots.” On two occasions, the Supreme Court considered whether these protections proscribe executing people with intellectual disabilities; however, the Court concluded that idiocy protections shielded only the “profoundly or severely mentally retarded.” This Note argues that the Court’s historical analysis of idiocy protections was unduly narrow. It then proceeds to reassess common law insanity protections for idiots and finds strong evidence that these protections included people with a relatively wide range of intellectual disabilities. Based on this new historical account, this Note argues that there are people with intellectual disabilities on death row today who likely would have been protected from execution in 1791.

New Release: Conforti, "Lizzie Borden on Trial"

New from the University Press of Kansas: Lizzie Borden on Trial: Murder, Ethnicity, and Gender (June 2015), by Joseph A. Conforti (University of Southern Maine). The Press explains:
Most people could probably tell you that Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks, but few could say that, when tried, Lizzie Borden was acquitted, and fewer still, why. In Joseph A. Confortis engrossing retelling, the case of Lizzie Borden, sensational in itself, also opens a window on a time and place in American history and culture.
Surprising for how much it reveals about a legend so ostensibly familiar, Confortis account is also fascinating for what it tells us about the world that Lizzie Borden inhabited. As Conforti—himself a native of Fall River, the site of the infamous murders—introduces us to Lizzie and her father and step-mother, he shows us why who they were matters almost as much to the trials outcome as the actual events of August 4, 1892. Lizzie, for instance, was an unmarried woman of some privilege, a prominent religious woman who fit the profile of what some characterized as a Protestant nun. She was also part of a class of moneyed women emerging in the late 19th century who had the means but did not marry, choosing instead to pursue good works and at times careers in the helping professions. Many of her contemporaries, we learn, particularly those of her class, found it impossible to believe that a woman of her background could commit such a gruesome murder. 
As he relates the details, known and presumed, of the murder and the subsequent trial, Conforti also fills in that background. His vividly written account creates a complete picture of the Fall River of the time, as Yankee families like the Bordens, made wealthy by textile factories, began to feel the economic and cultural pressures of the teeming population of native and foreign-born who worked at the spindles and bobbins. Conforti situates Lizzies austere household, uneasily balanced between the well-to-do and the poor, within this social and cultural milieu—laying the groundwork for the murder and the trial, as well as the outsize reaction that reverberates to our day. As Peter C. Hoffer remarks in his preface, there are many popular and fictional accounts of this still-controversial case, but none so readable or so well-balanced as this.
More information is available here.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Legal History at SHAFR 2015

We hear that the annual meeting of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations starts tomorrow in Arlington, Virginia,, with several panels on legal history, including:

Panel 12: Roundtable: Humanitarianism and Human Rights: A State of the Field
Chair: Sarah B. Snyder, American University
Michael Barnett, George Washington University
Gary Bass, Princeton University
Elizabeth Borgwardt, Washington University in St Louis
Julia Irwin, University of South Florida
Amanda Moniz, National History Center of the American Historical Association

Panel 92: The Use of International Law to Mobilize, Demobilize, and Otherwise Shape Public Opinion in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries

Chair: Susan Brewer, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point

The Atlantic Slave Trade & International Law in the United States Marco Basile, Harvard University

Arbitration as Kabuki Dance: Rhetoric and Reality during the Roosevelt-Taft Era Andrei Mamolea, Graduate Institute, Geneva

A Mere Scrap of Paper? The 1882 United States-Korea Treaty, 1882-2007 David P. Fields, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Comment: Christopher Dietrich, Fordham University

Danner on Antebellum Reviews of American Law Reports

More than AppealingRichard A. Danner, Duke University School of Law, has posted More than Decisions: Reviews of American Law Reports in the Pre-West Era:
In the early nineteenth century, both general literary periodicals and the first American legal journals often featured reviews of new volumes of U.S. Supreme Court and state court opinions, suggesting their importance not only to lawyers seeking the latest cases, but to members of the public. The reviews contributed to public discourse through comments on issues raised in the cases and the quality of the reporting, and were valued as forums for commentary on the law and its role in American society, particularly during debates on codification and the future of the common law in the 1820s. James Kent saw the reports as worthy of study by scholars of taste and literature, or to be read for their drama and displays of great feeling. By the 1840s fewer lengthy reviews of reports were published in the journals, but shorter reviews continued in the years prior to and after the Civil War; they largely disappeared with the emergence of West’s National Reporter System and other privately published reporters in the 1880s. This paper examines role and influences of the reviews in earlier decades of the century.

Stern on "Fanny Hill" and Obscenity Law

Simon Stern, University of Toronto Faculty of Law, has posted Fanny Hill and the 'Laws of Decency': Investigating Obscenity in the Mid-Eighteenth Century, forthcoming in Eighteenth-Century Life 40 (2016):
This essay discusses John Cleland's novel The Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (1748/9, better known as Fanny Hill), in the context of eighteenth-century obscenity law and the law of search and seizure. To explain why obscenity could have been treated as a criminal offense at all, the essay discusses prosecutions against writers and actors from the later seventeenth century through Cleland's time, showing how the criminality of the offense was taken for granted (circa 1670-1700), then rejected (in 1708), and then rationalized (in 1727). Cleland's novel, notable for resorting to metaphorical and euphemistic language so as to avoid "rank words," was nevertheless easily covered by the rationale offered in Curll (1727), but his case was never brought to trial. While some have thought that this circumstance is mysterious and requires explanation, in fact obscene works were rarely prosecuted at this time, and the decision even to begin proceedings against Cleland is more notable than the decision not to go to trial. Cleland implied, in some of his letters, that he believed his circumlocutory language should have excused him from prosecution, but his stronger argument would have involved the process that led to his arrest: the investigation proceeded by means of a general warrant, a device that would be criticized in the litigation after the 1763 Wilkes prosecution, which in turn influenced the prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures in the Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution. Along the way, the essay discusses several famous but inaccurate claims about the prosecution of Cleland and his publishers (e.g., that Cleland was paid to stop writing obscene novels, and that his publishers made a fortune from the book), and also includes a list of eighteenth-century editions of Fanny Hill.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Fishkin and Forbath on the Constitution of Opportunity

Joseph Fishkin and William E. Forbath, University of Texas at Austin School of Law, have posted Wealth, Commonwealth, & the Constitution of Opportunity: A Story of Two Traditions, which is forthcoming in NOMOS:
We live in a time of profound and justified anxiety about economic opportunity. The number of Americans facing poverty is growing, opportunities for middle-class livelihoods are shrinking, and economic clout is becoming concentrated at the top to a degree that recalls the last Gilded Age. For reformers throughout the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, economic circumstances like these posed not just an economic, social, or political problem but a constitutional one. A society with a “moneyed aristocracy” or a “ruling class,” these reformers understood, was an oligarchy, not a republic. This understanding was rooted in a constitutional discourse we have largely forgotten — one that this essay suggests we ought to reclaim. From the beginning of the Republic through roughly the New Deal, Americans vividly understood that the guarantees of the Constitution are intertwined with the structure of our economic life. This understanding was the foundation of a powerful constitutional discourse that today, with important but limited exceptions, lies dormant: a discourse of constitutional political economy. A powerful tradition of arguments, from the founding era through the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, sounded in this tradition: arguments that we we cannot keep our constitutional democracy — our “republican form of government” — without (a) constitutional restraints against oligarchy, and (b) a political economy that maintains a broad middle class, accessible to everyone. We call this the democracy of opportunity tradition.
Today, when we speak of “equal opportunity” and the Constitution, we usually think of a different tradition, more recognizable today as constitutional law: the inclusionary tradition, which has its roots in Reconstruction and animates arguments that the Constitution requires us to include, on equal terms, those who have previously been excluded from important opportunities on grounds such as race and sex. This essay, forthcoming in the journal NOMOS, tells the story of these two traditions and the relations between them, which have been fraught and often tragic. Generation after generation of white male champions of the older democracy of opportunity tradition refused to include women and racial others. Later, the great triumphs of the inclusionary tradition in the mid-twentieth century — the Civil Rights Revolution, the Great Society — were largely disconnected from the constitution of opportunity tradition. This was for a different reason: The Civil Rights Revolution and Great Society unfolded in an unprecedented moment of broadly shared prosperity; what remained to be done, it seemed, was to open the nation’s abundant middle-class opportunities to black America, women and other excluded “minorities.” Thus, the moment that marked the rebirth and greatest triumphs of the inclusionary tradition also signaled the eclipse of the democracy of opportunity tradition, and more generally of any constitutionalism not centered on the judiciary — an eclipse whose consequences have been far-reaching.

In this essay and in a larger book project, we aim to recover the idea that inequality and unequal opportunity, oligarchy and aristocracy, have a constitutional dimension. In the end, we argue that the inclusionary tradition and the democracy of opportunity tradition can only succeed together and intertwined. Here, we begin to sketch how a revived democracy of opportunity tradition, and a revived discourse of constitutional political economy, might matter both inside and outside the courts.

New Release: Mulcahy and Sugarman, "Legal Life-Writing: Marginalised Subjects and Sources"

New from Wiley-Blackwell: Legal Life-Writing: Marginalised Subjects and Sources (April 2015), by Linda Mulcahy (London School of Economics) and David Sugarman (Lancaster University). A description from the Press:
Legal Life-Writing provides the first sustained treatment of the implications of life-writing on legal biography, autobiography and the visual history of law in society through a focus on neglected sources, and on those usually marginalized or ignored in legal biography and legal history, such as women and minorities.
  • Draws on a range of sources and disciplinary approaches including legal history, life-writing, sociology, history, art history, feminism and post-colonialism, seeking to build a bridge-head between them
  • Challenges the methodologies employed in conventional accounts of legal lives
  • Aims to ignite debate about the nature of the relationship between socio-legal studies and legal history
  • Aims to enlarge the fields of legal biography, legal history, history and socio-legal studies, and to foster a closer and more inter-disciplinary dialogue between these disciplines 
More information is available here.

Hat tip: Mitra Sharafi

The Purcell Backlist

Edward A. Purcell, Jr. (credit)
Not too long ago, Edward A. Purcell, Jr., New York Law School, posted a number of items from his backlist.  If you missed some of these articles and book reviews by this masterful historian of federal courts and legal ideas, now is a good time to catch up.

Barry Friedman’s The Will of the People: Probing the Dynamics and Uncertainties of American Constitutionalism, Michigan State Law Review 2010: 663-95.
This essays examines Barry Friedman’s book, The Will of the People, and its thesis that, with lags and hesitations, the Supreme Court’s constitutional jurisprudence has increasingly adapted to the changing social and political attitudes of the American people. Noting the book’s close affinity with the work of recent scholars who argue that popular attitudes should and do have substantial influence in shaping constitutional law, the essay explores the lessons Friedman draws from his constitutional history and, in particular, the significance of four “critical periods”: the Federalist Era with its opposition to what seemed an overtly partisan Court, the first half of the nineteenth century with its widespread defiance of the federal judicial power, the long period from the Civil War to the New Deal when Americans sought to limit and control the judicial power, and the modern period that brought general acceptance of federal judicial power once it had learned to accommodate itself more closely to popular demands. The essay highlights the qualifications Friedman makes to his thesis, and it examines three particular historical issues -- the origins of the Judiciary Act of 1875, the Court’s alleged “formalism” in the late nineteenth century, and the relationship between the Court’s jurisprudence addressing racial and economic issues at the beginning of the twentieth century -- to extend and deepen Friedman’s analysis. The essay concludes by emphasizing the importance of history in enabling Americans to understand their constitutional system more realistically and thus, one hopes, to honor and maintain it more effectively.
Evolving Understandings of American Federalism: Some Shifting Parameters, New York Law School Law Review 50 (2006): 635-98:
This article examines the enduring question of the nature of the American federalism and its supposed role as a constitutional norm. It argues that federalism has not, and cannot, provide specific normative directions for resolving contested constitutional issues. The article stresses the fact that American understandings of the nation’s constitutional federalism were from the beginning sharply contested, and it explores the ways in which those understandings have remained sharply contested over the centuries. In particular, it traces changes that have occurred in ideas about the role of the Supreme Court, the “values” of federalism, the nature of federalism as a structure of government, and the very nature and meaning of the Constitution itself. The article concludes that “originalist” ideas misunderstand the nature of the federal system and that no “originalist” theory can either capture the reality of American constitutional federalism or provide specific normative direction to resolve the contemporary problems it confronts. Rather, American constitutional federalism must be understood as an evolving national enterprise guided generally by certain basic, if contested, values and principles and that those values and principles endure and give the system its true meaning.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Cheffins on Corporate Governance Since the Sixties

Brian R. Cheffins, University of Cambridge Faculty of Law, has posted Corporate Governance Since the Managerial Capitalism Era:
Today’s public company executives face a considerably different set of opportunities and constraints than their counterparts from the managerial capitalism era, which reached its apex in the 1950s and 1960s. The growing prominence of corporate governance played a significant role in this process. This paper explores these developments, taking into account in so doing prominent corporate scandals occurring in the first half of the 1970s and early 2000s, the 1980s “Deal Decade”, the “imperial” chief executive phenomenon and changes to the roles played by directors and shareholders of public companies.

ASLH 2015

We’ve been remiss in not mentioning sooner that pre-registration is open for the 2015 annual meeting of the American Society for Legal History, to be held October 29-November 1, in Washington, DC.  The meeting hotel is the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill.  The plenary reception will be held at the Supreme Court of the United States.  The ASLH website adds: “Please note that hotel bookings must be made by September 27, 2015, which is also the date when pre-registration will end.”

New Release: Ziegler's "After Roe"

Just out from the Harvard University Press is After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate, by Mary Ziegler, the Stearns Weaver Miller Professor of Law at the Florida State University College of Law:
Forty years after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its decision legalizing abortion, Roe v. Wade continues to make headlines. After Roe: The Lost History of the Abortion Debate cuts through the myths and misunderstandings to present a clear-eyed account of cultural and political responses to the landmark 1973 ruling in the decade that followed. The grassroots activists who shaped the discussion after Roe, Mary Ziegler shows, were far more fluid and diverse than the partisans dominating the debate today.

In the early years after the decision, advocates on either side of the abortion battle sought common ground on issues from pregnancy discrimination to fetal research. Drawing on archives and more than 100 interviews with key participants, Ziegler’s revelations complicate the view that abortion rights proponents were insensitive to larger questions of racial and class injustice, and expose as caricature the idea that abortion opponents were inherently antifeminist. But over time, “pro-abortion” and “anti-abortion” positions hardened into “pro-choice” and “pro-life” categories in response to political pressures and compromises. This increasingly contentious back-and-forth produced the interpretation now taken for granted—that Roe was primarily a ruling on a woman’s right to choose.

Peering beneath the surface of social-movement struggles in the 1970s, After Roe reveals how actors on the left and the right have today made Roe a symbol for a spectrum of fervently held political beliefs.
Reviewers say:
“An original and compelling history that complicates our understanding of abortion politics in important ways. Ziegler has written a real insiders’ account—rich and textured—that comprehensively traces the history of social movements’ response to Roe v. Wade, explaining how they developed, navigated internal tensions and external pressures, and made strategic and ideological choices and compromises. She demonstrates that the pro-life/pro-choice split was never inevitable; instead, it emerged in response to a variety of contingencies, including changing political conditions.”—Sara Dubow, author of Ourselves Unborn: Fetal Meanings in Modern America
“Ziegler’s compelling book challenges conventional wisdom about Roe v. Wade’s short- and long-term consequences for social movements and the law. Using a wide range of sources, she shows how fluid the abortion debate remained in the decade following Roe, and details how activists on both sides responded in complicated ways to the decision and to other political constraints and opportunities in the 1970s and early 1980s. After Roe makes important and original contributions to constitutional law and legal history, and to the study of women, gender, and sexuality.”—Serena Mayeri, author of Reasoning from Race: Feminism, Law, and the Civil Rights Revolution
 TOC is here; an excerpt from the foreword, here.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Book Roundup

There's no shortage of book reviews to read this weekend! To start with, The New Rambler reviews Naomi Murakawa's The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison America (Oxford University Press).
"Naomi Murakawa, a political scientist and associate professor of African American Studies at Princeton, has written an interesting book that blames both features on American liberals—in particular Harry Truman, Ted Kennedy, and Bill Clinton (and Lyndon Johnson and Joe Biden)—and American liberalism. In The First Civil Right: How Liberals Built Prison American, Murakawa takes as her target a conventional wisdom that explains the rise of mass incarceration as a victory of Republican law-and-order over Democratic civil rights. Rather, she argues, starting right in her subtitle, “liberals built prison America.” It was liberals, she claims, who “established a law-and-order mandate: build a better carceral state, one strong enough to control racial violence in the streets and regimented enough to control racial bias in criminal justice administration.” (page 3)"
Michael Signer's Becoming Madison: The Extraordinary Origins of the Least Likely Founding Father (PublicAffairs) is excerpted in The Daily Beast.

H-Net adds a review of The Street Politics of Abortion: Speech, Violence, and America's Culture Wars by Joshua C. Wilson (Stanford University Press).
"Firstly, he attempts to develop these stories through the lens of "movement-countermovement" analysis whereby he analyzes "how directly competing movements interact with one another—and possibly with a more traditional entity like the state—in a dynamic process where each movement in part creates the conditions within which the other acts" (p. 10). At the same time, he sets out to understand what we can learn about these stories regarding questions raised by traditional "legal consciousness" research, including "determining if and how law mattered for those involved in these disputes; how their stories may or may not reproduce, challenge, or amend legal power and state authority; ... and how their conceptions of law affect the ongoing politics of abortion" (p. 111). Lastly, Wilson includes the perspective of a group of participants in these legal conflicts that is often explicitly excluded in traditional legal consciousness research: state legal insiders or legal "elites," specifically lawyers, legislators, and amicus brief authors. Overall, this book achieves the ambitious goals it sets for itself in that it engages with and furthers two types of socio-legal-historical research: movement-countermovement literature and legal consciousness literature. Nonetheless, certain aspects of the conclusions reached by Wilson raise questions and leave room for further analysis."
More on culture wars and rights can be found in a review of Andrew Hartman's A War for the Soul of America: A History of the Culture Wars (University of Chicago Press) in the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Still yearning for yet more Magna Carta talk? The Los Angeles Review of Books has a multi-book review including Magna Carta and the Rule of Law by Roy Edmund Browned II, Andrea Martinez, Daniel Barstow Magraw (American Bar Association); In the Shadow of the Great Charter: Common Law Constitutionalism and the Magna Carta by Robert M. Pallitto (University Press of Kansas); King John and the Road to Magna Carta by Stephen Church (Basic); and Magna Carta: The Foundation of Freedom 1215-2015 by Nicholas Vincent (Third Millennium).
"The deeper that one goes in studying Magna Carta, beyond the uncritical and largely superficial treatment it receives in high school and popular culture, the more one begins to understand that it is the myth and the reinterpretation of Magna Carta over time that have influenced later generations far more than what actually happened in June 1215."
Also in the LA Review of Books is a review of Steve Inskeep's Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab (Penguin).

History Today reviews Don H. Doyle's The Cause of All Nations: An International History of the American Civil War (Basic).

The New York Review of Books adds a couple of reviews of interest, including one of Chen Guangcheng's The Barefoot Lawyer: A Blind Man's Fight for Justice and Freedom in China (Henry Holt).

There's also a multi-book review titled, "Our Universities: The Outrageous Reality," that takes up many works, including, Degrees of Inequality: How the Politics of Higher Education Sabotaged the American Dream by Suzanne Mettler (Basic); The Student Loan Mess: How Good Intentions Created a Trillion-Dollar Problem by Joel Best and Eric Best (University of California Press); Financing American Higher Education in the Era of Globalization by William Zumeta, David W. Breneman, Patrick M. Callan, and Joni E. Finney (Harvard Education Press); Locus of Authority: The Evolution of Faculty Roles in the Governance of Higher Education by William G. Bowen and Eugene M. Tobin (Princeton University Press); Paying for the Party: How College Maintains Inequality by Elizabeth A. Armstrong and Laura T. Hamilton (Harvard University Press); and Aspiring Adults Adrift: Tentative Transitions of College Graduates by Richard Arum and Josipa Roksa (University of Chicago Press). Here's a bit of the review:
"All in all, despite an emerging recognition that we must change course, the story told in the books under review is a dispiriting one. Mettler attributes the decline of educational opportunity since the 1980s to a failure of “upkeep,” by which she means the failure of government to renew and adapt policies from the past in order to advance their original purposes in the present and future. This strikes me as a generous explanation. The truth may be uglier. Perhaps concern for the poor has shriveled not only among policymakers but in the broader public. Perhaps in our time of focus on the wealthy elite and the shrinking middle class, there is a diminished general will to regard poor Americans as worthy of what are sometimes called “the blessings of American life”—among which the right to education has always been high if not paramount."
In The New York Times, Ryan Gatos's novel, All Involved (Harper Collins), is reviewed.
"Gattis’s premise is provocative: In the six days following the verdict of April 29, 1992, that acquitted three white police officers of using excessive force on Rodney King, the Los Angeles Police Department was so focused on the most violent manifestations of civil unrest that much of the rest of the city went unregulated. “All Involved” consists of 17 different perspectives, a majority of which issue from characters who have all been involved in some manner of illegal activity. As their neighborhood, Lynwood, plunges into general lawlessness because the police are struggling elsewhere, the path becomes clear for these individuals to go extra rogue, settling scores that mostly revolve around revenge and betrayal."
With Politics & Prose Joseph Ellis discusses The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789 (Knopf).

Geraldo L. Cadava discusses his Standing on Common Ground: The Making of a Sunbelt Borderland (Harvard University Press) with New Books in American Studies.

The New York Times has curated a list of fiction and nonfiction works for those interested in "Reading About Racial Boundaries."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Weekend Roundup

  • Using a photo album to spark research into the history of African American Women, in Martha Jones's seminar at the University of Michigan
  • Seth Barrett Tillman, National University of Ireland, Maynooth Faculty of Law, has posted Lincoln and Merryman.  He writes, “My goal is to displace the several factual and legal myths associated with Ex Parte Merryman, and to explain the practical modern relevance of this project.”
  • Via the Faculty Lounge's Alfred Brophy and Columbia Law School's Sabrina Sondhi, here are Karl Llewellyn's midterm exams in contracts in 1930 and 1931.  The latter set off a student protest reported in the New York Times.
Weekend Roundup is a weekly feature compiled by all the Legal History bloggers.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ms. Peppercorn Sends a Note from the Archives

The LHB's sage advice guru, Ms. Peppercorn, has popped her head out of the archives to offer some words of sympathy and encouragement to all you fellow treasure hunters:
These days, we are all dusty.  If not dusty, our eyes are bleary from staring at microfilm or trying to read seventeenth-century fraktur online, or some such hurdle placed carefully in the way of the researcher.  Such is the glamorous summer of the legal historian.

Ms. Peppercorn is among the sufferers, as are many of you.  One looks forward to archive trips, it seems, while teaching or reading endless tomes for graduate seminars.  The experience makes us wonder why the anticipation was keen.  Having lived on peanut butter and the odd dinner scrounged from understanding friends for the past three weeks, Ms. P. reached out to fellow researchers, to seek solace from other lonely and beleaguered scholars. 

From one, she learned that this legal historian understands such trips as “vacuum mode.”  Thousands and thousands of photographs, to be digested later.  This is a common experience among historians of more recent history, and there is lots of advice out there on how to manage the overload of images.  Sounds awful, frankly. Another researcher, who quite unacceptably reported that he enjoys these jaunts, said he contemplates the documents in a relaxed and unhurried way, and eats at greasy spoons.  A third reported a steady diet of vegetable soup and baked potatoes, for weeks.  This was one sufferer that we could identify with, as this scholar (like Ms. P) marches on her stomach. 

Yet we all hope for treasure, and the anxiety of such trips is a function of the pressure (plus the boring food, let’s be honest).  And we all make mistakes.  One sage counselor advised that “you have to be ready to re-visit your archive.”  Ouch. 

But it’s the sad truth.  Ms. P. finds that she can never quite figure out what the key points are to a set of primary documents until she starts writing.  Then, the hidden questions emerge, like demons.  In addition, there is the organization (dare we say, even the adequate taking) of notes.  The discipline is only possible, it seems, under the threat of having to use the damn things right away.  Thus starting to write or outline while on a research trip may be advisable, however painful. 

It’s better than coming back.

Then again, the thought of fellow sufferers in the archives is oddly comforting, and whatever your survival strategy, may the days be productive!  And may be all be doing something else, soon.
P.S. Scholars working in colonial or early national legal history with any Virginia hook should apply to Monticello, as they take great of of their fellows!
Do you all have any advice or words of encouragement for our pals laboring in the archives this summer? Feel free to post comments below.

And if you have a question that you would like to see Ms. Peppercorn address in her next post, send a message to the blog email address.

Brophy on Llewellyn on Lynching

Alfred L. Brophy, University of North Carolina School of Law, has posted 'Cold Legal Points into Points of Flame': Karl Llewellyn Attacks Lynching.
This essay puts into context a Foreword that Karl N. Llewellyn wrote for a NAACP brief urging the Department of Justice to prosecute an Alabama sheriff for permitting the lynching of two young men in July 1933. They were accused of assaulting and murdering a young white woman in Tuscaloosa County, Alabama. The lynchings took place in the wake of the Scottsboro, Alabama prosecutions and many saw the lynchings as a response to Scottsboro and also to the presence of lawyers from the International Labour Defence who tried to represent the Tuscaloosa defendants. The lynchings, it seemed, were designed to send a message to African Americans throughout the state.

Llewellyn’s long-forgotten Foreword, which no previous scholars have written about, expands our understanding of Llewellyn and of the role the methods of Legal Realism could play in the Civil Rights Movement. Llewellyn looked at the facts to argue that community members and government officials worked together to protect white supremacy from “challenge even in the courts of law.” Such facts turned “cold legal points into points of flame” and made the case for federal intervention.

The brief, thus reflecting the methods of Realism, focused on close examination of facts to see the world fresh and to make the case for reform. It also suggests that the Civil Rights Movement and Realism may have drawn inspiration from a common well of cultural ideas to go back, see the world as it is, and to hold up those facts to the public, and in that way to change the law and legal practices.
Professor Brophy will be discussing the essay on Faculty Lounge.

New Release: Fish's "Federal Justice in the Mid-Atlantic South"

Yesterday we mentioned Peter Graham Fish’s Federal Justice in the Mid-Atlantic South: United States Courts from Maryland to the Carolinas, 1836–1861 (Carolina Academic Press, 2015) in an update on historical societies of the federal courts, but it deserves a post of its own:
This sweeping exploration in eight richly illustrated parts meticulously traces the antebellum development and performance of the federal judiciary across five judicial districts and, until 1842, three separate circuits within the bounds of the modern but historic U. S. Fourth Circuit (Maryland, Virginia-West Virginia, and the Carolinas). A variety of sources, data, and approaches are used to explain the politics of circuit and court organization as well as the selection and disparate compensation of the district judges, court workloads, and administration.

Emphasis is placed on the roles played by the judges, including the circuit-riding Supreme Court justices, primarily James M. Wayne and Roger B. Taney, as well as advocates at the bar and grand juries in construing the constitutional powers and limits on the judiciary (i.e. ''brown water'' admiralty jurisdiction), Congress (i.e. international slave trade), and the executive branch (i.e. executive officers). Their decisions defined nation-state relations in a sometimes benign and sometimes confrontational states-centric polity, shepherding economic life in adjudicating litigation involving patents, diverse maritime interests including those of maritime labor, bankruptcy, transportation in the waning Age of Sail and the inception of steam power technology, contracts and conveyances, and a limited range of social control subjects from murder and mail robbery to the Atlantic slave trade and fugitive slaves.

Part 8 treats the twilight days of the Old Republic in each of the five judicial districts wherein the judges and court personnel faced hard choices for some and easy choices for others amid cascading political events heralding America's greatest constitutional crisis.

This book is part of [Carolina Academic Press's] Legal History Series, edited by H. Jefferson Powell, Duke University School of Law.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Introducing HistPhil

We are pleased to welcome HistPhil to the blogosophere! The blog focuses on the history of philanthropy and is run by historians Benjamin Soskis (Center for the Study of Nonprofits, Philanthropy and Policy, George Mason University), Maribel Morey (Clemson University), and Stanley N. Katz (Princeton University). Here's the formal announcement:

Today, historians of philanthropy Benjamin Soskis, Maribel Morey, and Stanley N. Katz launched a new website on the history of philanthropy, HistPhil (www.histphil.org).

Placing a particular emphasis on how history can shed light on contemporary philanthropic issues and practice, HistPhil’s editors hope that the site will foster discussion and debate on the sector with a more humanistic orientation than is often found in much of the current discourse.  The general idea is to bring together scholars, foundation leaders, and philanthropists in common dialogue on the past, present, and future of philanthropy.

In order to strengthen this virtual community, HistPhil’s editors have decided to structure the blog around certain themes. However, they also will open the blog to ongoing comment on current matters of philanthropic concern and controversy.

They will start off with a discussion on the state of the field. Stan Katz asks how a historical perspective can inform our understanding of the Clinton Foundation; David Hammack offers his thoughts on the various waves of scholarship over the last two centuries that have engaged the topics of the philanthropic sector and civil society; in a Q&A, Olivier Zunz relates his experience writing his major monograph on the history of American philanthropy, and considers the directions the field might go in the years to come; Abigail Green and Amanda Moniz discuss the question of present-ism and its relation to the historiography of humanitarianism; and more. They then will progress to other topics, such as “philanthropy and democracy,” “philanthropy and education,” “the African American experience and philanthropy,” and “philanthropy and the environment.” Contributors for these weeks include Hewlett Foundation President Larry Kramer, political theorist Emma Saunders-Hastings, and historians Karen Ferguson and Leah Gordon.
Contact information is here:
Website: www.HistPhil.org
Twitter: @HistPhil  
Email: historyofphilanthropyblog@gmail.com

American Museum of Tort Law Announces Executive Director

And, while we're on the topic of bar-initiated historical activities, we should note the report in the Connecticut Legal Times that a well-known Connecticut trial lawyer Richard Newman has been named executive director of the American Museum of Tort Law, which consumer advocate Ralph Nader announced he would open in his hometown of Winsted, Connecticut, back in 2013.

"A tort museum, I like that," Katherine A. Hermes, a legal historian who chairs the history department at Central Connecticut State University (and who long ago hosted me in New Zealand), says in the CLT story.  "I'm very intrigued by the idea and think this will be a very popular attraction for legal scholars."

Historical Societies of the Federal Courts: An Update

The Historical Society for the District of Columbia Circuit is one of the more active judicial historical societies, with a large and important oral history series, a book-length history, a newsletter, annual panels and reenactments of leading issues and cases, occasional postings to a Historian’s Corner on its well-maintained website, and a mock trial program for high school students of the District of Columbia.  But Board President Stephen J. Pollak is not one to let an institution he leads rest on its laurels, and so earlier this year he asked Daniel Holt of the Federal Judicial Center to brief the Society’s board on what other federal court historical societies have been doing since 2000.  I'm extremely grateful to Dr. Holt for permission to use his research in this post.  He cautioned me that he did not intend his briefing to be exhaustive and that he must have inadvertently omitted publications and activities.  I've also winnowed his list a bit, so you might as well blame me for any omissions.  I can try to make amends in an update.

Possibly your best on-line entree into the topics is the Federal Judicial Center's webpage, Federal Court Historical Programs.  Circuit Courts with very active historical societies include the Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, D.C., and Federal Circuit.  An entree into the work of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society is here.  Some notion of the many District Courts with active historical societies, may be acquired here.

Edward A. Purcell, Jr., New York Law School, reviewed an early spate of circuit and district court histories in Reconsidering the Frankfurterian Paradigm: Reflections on Histories of Lower Federal Courts, Law and Social Inquiry 24 (1999). Court histories published since Purcell's essay include Jefferey Brandon Morris, Establishing Justice in Middle America (University of Minnesota Press, 2007) (Eighth Circuit); Burton Alan Boxerman, And Justice for All: A History of the Federal District Court of Eastern Missouri (Southeast Missouri State University Press, 2014); Richard Cahan, A Court that Shaped America: Chicago's Federal District Court from Abe Lincoln to Abbie Hoffman (Northwestern University Press, 2002); George W. Geib and Donald B. Kite, The History of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana (Indiana Historical Society Press, 2007); Mark Edward Lender, "This Honorable Court": The United States District Court for the District of New Jersey, 1789-2000 (Rutgers University Press, 2006); John O. Peters, From Marshall to Moussaoui: Federal Justice in the Eastern District of Virginia (Dietz Press, 2013) (see also here); Richard Cahan, Pia Hinckle, and Jessica Royer Ocken, The Court that Tamed the West: From the Gold Rush to the Tech Boom (Heyday Books, 2013); Harvey Bartle III, Mortals with Tremendous Responsibilities: A History of the United State District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania (St. Joseph's University Press, 2011); Steven Flanders, The Federal Circuit: A Judicial Innovation, 2d ed. (Twelve Tables Press)And just out is Peter Graham Fish’s Federal Justice in the Mid-Atlantic South: United States Courts from Maryland to the Carolinas, 1836–1861 (Carolina Academic Press, 2015).

Judicial memoirs and biographies include 8th Circuit Judge Myron Bright's Goodbye Mike, Hello Judge: My Journey for Justice (North Dakota State University Institute for Regional Studies), the Nebraska Federal District Judge Warren Urbom’s Called to Justice: The Life of a Federal Trial Judge (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press); and James Haskins's Cecil Poole: A Life in the LawJust about all of the historical societies Dr. Holt surveyed collect and make publicly available oral histories of judges, court staff, and lawyers.  I've plugged the DC Circuit's repeatedly; information about the Ninth Circuit's is here.  The Historical Society for New Jersey District Court has posted video interviews of  twelve judges, court officers and US attorneys.

Journals include Stereoscope (for the Western District of Michigan), Western Legal History (published by the Ninth Circuit Historical Society), and the Journal of the Federal Circuit Historical Society.

Newsletters abound.  The historical societies for several circuit courts, including the Tenth and the Eleventh, have them.  So do those for federal district courts, such as Eastern Michigan (The Court Legacy); Eastern Tennessee, New Jersey (Nunc Pro Tunc); and Oregon.

Historical societies also post web-based histories, profiles, and blogs.  The Tenth Circuit Historical Society’s online history is here; its blog is here; its Flickr page, here.  The Federal Circuit's online history is here, and a commemoration of the 225 anniversary of the establishment of the District of New York is here.  The Middle District of Florida Historical Society posted a brief narrative history here. The Historical Society of the Western District of Michigan has a downloadable collection of judicial biographies, entitled Portraits of Justice.

Frank E. Moss U.S. Courthouse
Historical societies have also helped produce documentaries on its cases or courthouses.  The Eighth Circuit Historical Society has an online video commemorating Gideon v. Wainwright (and featuring Judge Morris Arnold).  The Ninth Circuit has a video on the building of the Ronald Reagan Courthouse in Santa Ana; the Western Michigan District Historical Society created a video on the legal and constitutional history of the region in the era of the Civil War.  The Historical Society for the Southern District of Indiana has a video tour of its courthouse and its history.  The Historical Society of the Tenth Circuit helped fund Courthouse, a documentary produced by the PBS affiliate at the University of Utah on the Frank E. Moss federal courthouse, the history of the Utah District Court, and the federal courts' influence on Utah today.

Archival collections present a challenge for many historical societies, because they usually lack the facilities and professionally trained staff to maintain them.  Even so, Dr. Holt found a few notable exceptions.  The Third Circuit created an archives for Judge John Biggs, Jr., and Judge Albert Maris, whose fascinating career is briefly described here. The Middle District of Florida Historical Society maintains an archive that includes the papers of Judge Alexander Paskay and Bankruptcy Judge George L. Proctor.  And the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society preserves the papers of Judge Cecil Poole as part of the Judge Cecil Poole Biography Project.

Bell Room Historical Gallery, Whittaker Courthouse
Many historical societies have created exhibits for their courthouses or to travel to other sites.  The Third Circuit has a courthouse exhibition on the life and work of Judge Maris; the Eight Circuit creates displays and video presentations for its judicial conferences; and the Ninth Circuit has prepared exhibits, such as “Building Justice: Federal Courthouse Architecture in the American West," that have traveled from Anchorage to Honolulu.  It helped with A Class Action: The Grassroots Struggle for School Desegregation in California,on Mendez v. Westminster (1946), in on display at the Edward J. Schwartz U.S. Courthouse in San Diego.  The Northern District of Iowa’s courthouse in Cedar Rapids has a history center with interactive exhibits on federal judicial history from the statehood of Iowa to today. The US District Courthouse for the District of Minnesota is home to An Empire Built on Paper: Foshay Trial Exhibit. The historical society for the Western District of Missouri has opened the Bell Room Historical Gallery in Kansas City's Charles Evans Whittaker Courthouse. It features the district's judges since statehood to present, significant and notorious cases, and audiovisual displays ranging from the path to citizenship to the judicial process.  The United States District Court for the District of New Hampshire maintains historical exhibits on the first and third floors of the Warren B. Rudman Courthouse.  And the next time you're in Fargo, check out the display honoring the late Judge Rodney Webb at the US courthouse.

Finally, sponsored lectures and other public programs on historical topics are too numerous to list. Illustrations include the Second Circuit's Hands Lectures, which are held throughout the circuit. The Oregon US District Court Historical Society sponsors a famous cases series. The Ninth Circuit helped organize the panel The Legal and Physical Infrastructure of Southern California Water at the Western History Association last October.  The Tenth Circuit held a program on the assassination of President Kennedy that featured U.S. District Judge Jack Tunheim, who chaired the U.S. Assassination Records Review Board.  In Colorado, the Tenth Circuit was a cosponsor of Forty Years Since Keyes Equality of Education Opportunity and the Legal Construction of Modern Metropolitan America.  (Cf. the DC Circuit's recent panel n Bolling v. Sharpe!)  In Kansas, the same society hosted the program Americans by Choice: The Story of Immigration and Citizenship in Kansas.  The Eastern District of California opted for programs on notable criminal trials: Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme and on the Unabomber.  (Both aired on CSPAN.)  The Federal Circuit Historical Society's events are listed here.