Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Witt's Reflections on a New Haven Courthouse

Modernism and Antimodernism in the Federal Courts: Reflections on the Federal District Court for the District of Connecticut on the 100th Anniversary of Its New Haven Courthouse, published by John Fabian Witt, Yale Law School, in the Connecticut Law Review 48 (2015): 219-32, is available on-line:
The  story  of  the  federal  courthouse  on  the  New  Haven  Green  is  a perfect parable for the modern history of the federal district courts around the country. One hundred years ago, architect James Gamble Rogers built a post office with a courtroom attached as an afterthought. In the century since, the United States has built its lower federal courts into institutions of the first rank. If we want to understand the federal district courts and their contribution,  including  the  District  Court  for  the  District of  Connecticut, we  need  to  be  students  of  recent  American  history.  And  there  is  no  better structure  for  encapsulating  the  story  of  the  lower  federal  courts  than a building built as if a post office for the ancients, repurposed as a temple of justice for moderns, backed by the authority of the federal government, and filled with people who for one hundred years now have heroically taken the rule of law to be a sacred mission.