ABA Journal

Legal History

1246 ABA Journal Legal History articles.

A Great Escape: Fugitives and prison cruelty throughout cinematic history

I subscribe to quite a few news apps on my iPhone. I like to get my information regarding U.S. and world events from multiple sources, and feel that if I vary the input sources, there is less chance I’ll fall victim to the self-imposed echo chambers so many of us live in these days.

Decoding the Legal Doctorate: The curious case of why lawyers are not called ‘doctor’

“I have been a practicing lawyer since 1988, and I’m acutely aware of the curious dance that attorneys have with how to be addressed professionally, particularly in academic settings. It never occurred to me, however, that lawyers would use the title “Dr.” until a few years after graduating from law school.”

First Black federal judges carved a civil rights path

In “The Jackie Robinsons of the Federal Judiciary,” published in the University of Maryland Law Journal of Race, Religion, Gender and Class, Judge Willie J. Epps Jr. recounts the strengths, struggles and legacies of these nine historic trailblazers. “They did not let barriers stop them from becoming federal judges when segregated schools, employers, restaurants, hotels, public bathrooms, water fountains and swimming pools prevailed,” says Epps, a magistrate judge in the Western District of Missouri.

Sept. 25, 1930: U.S. names its first drug czar

Even before the end of Prohibition in 1933, public concern about narcotics addiction had been mounting. In the latter half of the 19th century, various opioids and cocaine were used in “patent medicines” and were widely available for sale, with drug laws and their enforcement deferred to the states.

Is family court too flawed to be fixed?

Jane M. Spinak did not set out to write a book arguing for the abolition of family court. She thought that she would be making the case for a set of sensible reforms. But the more she dug into the history of the family court system, the previous attempts at reform, and the examples of real world harms that the system had caused, the more she began to believe there was no saving it.

Judge rejects Tulsa Race Massacre survivors’ reparations claim

An Oklahoma state court judge has thrown out a lawsuit seeking reparations for the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, ending what could be the survivors’ best hope for justice for one of the worst racial terror attacks in U.S. history.

A Framework for Reparations: Scholars worked years to develop detailed, ‘feasible’ plan

For decades, politicians, scholars and activists have debated whether there should be reparations for slavery, and if so, what form that compensation would take. In The Black Reparations Project: A Handbook for Racial Justice, authors William A. Darity Jr., A. Kirsten Mullen and Lucas Hubbard work to answer all questions and move the reparations discussion from theory to action, tapping an interdisciplinary team to create a framework to advance the cause.

Supreme Court’s Bruen decision may have aided Hunter Biden in fight against gun charge

A U.S. Supreme Court decision written by Justice Clarence Thomas may have created uncertainty about the constitutionality of a gun charge against President Joe Biden's son Hunter Biden, leading to a favorable plea deal.

For some parties in LGBTQ landmark cases, June 26 is a special day

Before Roberta Kaplan read the 2013 U.S. Supreme Court opinion that struck down a law banning federal benefits to same-sex married couples, she knew that her client Edie Windsor had won because the majority was written by then-Justice Anthony Kennedy, who had authored earlier opinions supporting same-sex rights. And there was a dissent from then-Justice Antonin Scalia, who had a history of voting against same-sex rights.

Could Trump pardon himself? DOJ considered self-pardons in Nixon era

If former President Donald Trump is convicted on federal charges and then wins reelection, would he have the power to pardon himself?

Joe Bell fights to open cold case records of a 1946 mass lynching

At a 2008 American Bar Association event in Washington, D.C., Joseph Bell Jr., an attorney with a keen interest in discrimination cases, first met author Anthony Pitch, a historian and authority on President Abraham Lincoln. A friendship developed.

Nation’s first youth climate lawsuits to go to trial

Held v. State of Montana is part of a growing trend in climate-related litigation: shifting away from lawsuits targeting specific fossil fuel projects and toward a bigger-picture approach focusing on fundamental rights and broad violations of public trust.

SCOTUS faces ‘a catastrophic loss of institutional legitimacy,’ warns author

In his new book, The Supermajority: How the Supreme Court Divided America, Michael Waldman identifies three times that the U.S. Supreme Court caused a public backlash against itself—and warns that the court may be well along the path to a fourth massive public backlash.

New book details Justice Antonin Scalia’s early life

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who died in office in 2016, remains a revered figure among conservatives for his pugnaciousness, quick wit and his commitment to deciding cases based on “textualist” readings of statutes and an “originalist” interpretation of the Constitution. But Scalia’s combativeness also was polarizing.

June 3, 1943: The zoot suit riots begin

On June 3, 1943, an estimated 50 sailors stationed in Los Angeles crammed into taxis and swarmed into the nearby Alpine Street neighborhood of East LA, where they began beating a group of teens, several dressed in zoot suits—the loose-fitting bib and tucker associated in the local press with Mexican American youth gangs.

Read more ...