Monday, August 26, 2002

supreme court historical society

In a couple of weeks, this blog will be one year old. While writing here, I've discovered in interest in history that I wasn't aware of before. In many ways, the law does teach someone to be concerned about history. How has a court ruled previously on a specific issue? Were the facts and circumstances similar? Have other courts addressed the holding in a specific case? Is there a legislative history? There's a drama to a case that isn't always evident upon reading a judicial opinion. And, there's a history behind certain institutions that you can pay attention to, or ignore at your own peril.

I came across the web site of the Supreme Court Historical Society tonight. The Society was started in 1974 by late Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. There's some fascinating views into the United State's Highest Court on those pages. While I found the History of the Court and the Homes of the Court worth spending some time visiting, the pages I most enjoyed were in the publications section of the site. The title of one caught my eye, and I had the chance to read it, but I'll be back to spend time with the others.

An intriguing look at the process and politics of the selection of a Supreme Court Justice is in their article entitled The First Woman Candidate for the Supreme Court -- Florence E. Allen. The year was 1934 when her campaign first began. Florence E. Allen was as qualified as anyone else who could be chosen. During her professional career as a federal circuit court judge, she was "'available' for twelve vacancies." After reading about her campaign to be appointed, I can't help but wonder what type of legacy she would have left behind. If you have any interest in the judcial selection process, this essay is worth a look.

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