Legal History

1081 ABA Journal Legal History articles.

April 6, 1841: John Tyler inaugurates precedential succession

On the death of President William Henry Harrison, Vice President John Tyler set a precedent when he made it clear that he planned to fully assume the office.

Have we been pronouncing ‘gerrymandering’ wrong? This man’s descendants think so

Updated: As the U.S. Supreme Court considered the constitutionality of partisan gerrymandering Tuesday, another question lurked beneath the surface. Is gerrymandering pronounced with a soft or hard letter “g”?

Did an ax murderer go free? ‘The Trial of Lizzie Borden’ examines the evidence

In The Trial of Lizzie Borden, Cara Robertson uses her skills as a lawyer to go over the strategies used by the defense and prosecution, the evidence brought before the court, and the societal influences that contributed to the outcome.

How 2 Supreme Court cases from 1919 shaped the next century of First Amendment law

Just after World War I, the U.S. Supreme Court grappled with a series of cases involving the speech of political dissidents charged with violating federal laws designed to quell criticism of the U.S. war effort, draft or policy toward foreign nations.

Who do you think is an inspiring woman in law and why?

March is Women’s History Month in the United States, a time to recognize women from the past and present who overcame adversity to excel in a male-dominated society. Within the…

Letters: Immigrant rights
Chemerinsky: Do religious symbols on government property infringe on First Amendment?

The Supreme Court has a chance to clarify whether symbols of religion on government property violate the First Amendment. The establishment clause has returned to the court in American Legion v. American Humanist Association, to be argued Feb. 27.

Student free speech case ‘chipped away’ at after 50 years, but ‘overall idea’ remains

Mary Beth and John Tinker remain as engaged and committed to young people’s free-expression rights as they were more than 50 years ago when they were suspended from their middle and high schools in Des Moines, Iowa, for wearing black peace armbands.

These 14 black lawyers broke down barriers and made history (gallery)

February is Black History Month, a time to honor the heritage and triumphs of African-American people from the past to the present. From abolitionists to modern social justice advocates, the…

Federal appeals court allows release of grand jury records in 1946 lynching

A federal appeals court on Monday upheld the release of grand jury records in the 1946 lynching of two black couples in Georgia.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals…

Appeals challenge dismissal of ethics complaints against Kavanaugh
At least two appeals are challenging the dismissal of 83 ethics complaints against U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Supreme Court’s history with alcohol gets a look in ‘Glass and Gavel’
From the earliest days of the U.S. Supreme Court, alcohol has been part of the work lives and social lives of the justices. In the book Glass and Gavel: The U.S. Supreme Court and Alcohol, Nancy Maveety takes readers on a tour through the ways that SCOTUS and spirits have overlapped.
A tale of two silver markets—and two disasters

Rivalry between gold and silver touched off the Panic of 1893. Speculation roared back in 1980, when the billionaire Hunt brothers nearly cornered the silver market.

Chemerinsky: Why 2018 was a pivotal year for the Supreme Court
The past year is sure to be regarded as pivotal in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. The retirement of Anthony Kennedy and his replacement with Brett Kavanaugh likely will shape the court for decades.
Dec. 2, 1892: Grand jury indicts Lizzie Borden

In November 1892, Fall River, Massachusetts, was an unremarkable New England mill town with a very remarkable problem: What to do with Lizzie Borden?

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