Wednesday, January 10, 2018

FJC's "Debates on the Federal Judiciary," Vol. 3

The Federal Judicial History Office of the Federal Judicial Center has just published Debates on the Federal Judiciary: A Documentary History, Volume III: 1939–2005, by Jake I. Kobrick and Daniel S. Holt. It may be obtained as a paperback and as a pdf here.
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. The volume also covers proposed civil justice initiatives regarding diversity jurisdiction, class actions, case management, alternative dispute resolution, and the creation of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, and concludes with discussions on the discipline of federal judges, including proposals for a nonimpeachment method for judicial removal.
We’ve previously noted Volumes 1 and 2.  Now that the series is complete, we can pass along the following recipe for terrific course on the history of the American federal judiciary.  Combine the FJC's three documentary volumes with Federal Courts: An Essential History, by Peter Charles Hoffer, Williamjames Hull Hoffer, and N. E. H. Hull, and/or Building the Judiciary Law, Courts, and the Politics of Institutional Development by Justin Crowe.  Season to taste with selections from the FJC’s Famous Federal Trials and the Famous Trials compiled by Douglas O. Linder of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School et voilà!