ABA Journal

Legal History

1121 ABA Journal Legal History articles.

Law & Order’s prime-time formula shaped a generation’s understanding of the legal system

When it comes to formulas, arguably only Coca-Cola’s has been more successful. During its original broadcast run from 1990 until 2010, Law & Order became a cultural phenomenon. It won multiple awards, including the Emmy for best drama series in 1997, and it was a top-10 show at its peak of popularity in the early 2000s. With an emphasis on procedure as the primary plot device and less reliance on exploring characters’ personal lives or relationships, the success of the show spawned numerous similar shows and spin-offs while inspiring countless fans to go to law school or pursue careers in law enforcement.

Judicial portraits and Confederate monuments stir debate on bias in the justice system

“It is my goal—and my duty as a judge—to provide a trial setting that is perceived by all participants as fair, neutral and without so much as a hint of prejudice,” Judge Martin Clark wrote in a 2015 order. “Confederate symbols are, simply put, offensive to African Americans.”

The ABA has advocated for people with HIV/AIDS for more than 30 years

While the American Bar Association has mobilized to help the public and profession during the COVID-19 pandemic, this is not the first time the association has addressed the challenge of a new and deadly virus. At the height of the United States’ AIDS epidemic, the ABA helped lead the charge to decrease discrimination against people who were infected with HIV.

Aug. 15, 1876: Congress passes the ‘Sell or Starve’ Act

Despite their historic victory at Little Bighorn in June 1876, the Sioux found little relief from the white onslaught. Accepting defeat, they returned to their reservations—unarmed and newly dependent on government rations. And on Aug. 15, 1876, Congress passed legislation that became known as the “Sell or Starve” Act, halting any aid to the Sioux until they relinquished both their hunting rights and their claim to the Black Hills.

‘Common good originalism’ is neither originalist nor a good way to judge, essay says

Some conservatives are backing a more activist brand of judging that reads moral values into the Constitution as a counter to liberals’ push to read the Constitution as a living document that changes with the times.

Chicago’s lakefront is an accident of history, but can it teach us how to preserve land for public use?

Chicago's lakefront, with its parks, museums, beaches and public spaces, is an accident of history. But can we take lessons from that history to create sustainable and environmentally responsible public spaces?

Do we need to rethink how we handle classified leaks?

As the 50th anniversary of the Pentagon Papers case approached, First Amendment scholars Lee Bollinger and Geoffrey Stone knew they wanted to mark the occasion somehow.

Artist-attorney uses Supreme Court opinions to create a series of blackout poems

In 2020, the International Center for Advocates Against Discrimination tapped New York lawyer Harbani Kaur Ahuja as its first artist-in-residence, commissioning her to create 40 poems over two years.

‘Vice Patrol’ examines how police and courts enforced anti-gay laws before Stonewall

In Vice Patrol: Cops, Courts, and the Struggle Over Urban Gay Life Before Stonewall, author Anna Lvovsky examines the way that queer communities were policed in the 1930s through the 1960s.

Not in Kansas anymore: A former congressman’s improbable journey from the heartland to Hollywood

In 2004, Dan Glickman began a six-year stint as chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America. That may seem like an unusual career change for a nine-term congressman from Kansas and former secretary of agriculture. People sometimes questioned his qualifications to lead Hollywood’s trade association. “I used to grow popcorn,” he tells me he’d respond. “And now I sell it.”

Chemerinsky: Precedent seems to matter little in the Roberts Court

How much weight does the Roberts Court give to precedent? This is the crucial underlying question now that the U.S. Supreme Court has granted review in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, which puts the fate of Roe v. Wade before the justices. The case concerns a Mississippi law that prohibits abortions after the 15th week of pregnancy.

June 15, 1992: Supreme Court upholds DEA’s kidnapping of Mexican doctor

How one lawyer is trying to solve a John Wayne Gacy murder mystery

Steven Becker wasn’t sure what he’d see at his first exhumation. But here he was, on Sept. 5, 2012, at the Queen of Heaven Cemetery in Hillside, Illinois, on behalf of his client, who insisted that the body in the coffin was not—despite what police said—her son.

California judge gathers signatures of internment survivors on 48-star flag

A judge in Santa Clara County, California, is honoring survivors of the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II by gathering their signatures on a 48-star flag.

Several law firms plan to make Juneteenth a permanent paid holiday; will it become an industry standard?

The “vast majority” of several dozen law firms contacted by Law360 Pulse plan to make Juneteenth a permanent holiday after observing it last year.

Read more ...