ABA Journal

Legal History

1246 ABA Journal Legal History articles.

Join ABA Day 2022: Celebrating 25 years of advocacy on the Hill

This year, we will celebrate the 25th anniversary of this event during the week of April 4. The ongoing pandemic has restricted our ability to meet face-to-face in Washington, but we have adjusted our advocacy strategy and techniques. As in 2020 and 2021, ABA Day 2022 will be held virtually.

April 17, 1905: New York’s bakeshop labor law overturned

In October 1901, Joseph Lochner, who owned a bakery on South Street in Utica, New York, was indicted and subsequently convicted on two criminal counts of working his employees beyond the hourly limits of the Bakeshop Act, a relatively new state law that limited the working hours of bakery employees to 10 hours per day and 60 hours per week.

Lawyers react to federal anti-lynching law named after Emmett Till

President Joe Biden signed a bill into law Tuesday making lynching a federal hate crime—a move that drew praise from legal groups and lawyers.

When ‘Loof Lirpa’ goes awry, enter the lawyers

First day of April tomfoolery sometimes goes awry. Enter the lawyers—and then it’s no laughing matter.

‘No Equal Justice’ shares Detroit lawyer’s civil rights legacy

Detroit has been the site of many civil rights and labor rights battles, and many notable Black attorneys have called the city home. The first Black president of the ABA, Dennis Archer, came from the Detroit legal community, as does the current ABA president, Reginald Turner. But the full story of one of the city's pioneering legal figures has not been told—until now.

Why some civil rights movement heroes were relegated to the shadows

I decided I wanted to be a lawyer at the age 9. As I grew older and advanced in my academic career, the harsh reality became clearer that one’s appearance, speech, background or lifestyle choice can greatly impact their opportunities and how others perceive their abilities and intelligence.

4 Black bar association leaders reflect on historic moment

For the first time, African Americans are leading four major national bar associations at once. “It’s important when there is a spotlight on Black history to show that the four of us have achieved this unique thing,” says Douglas K. Burrell, who heads the Defense Research Institute. “It is incredible for each of us to be president of our organizations. It is even more incredible for four of us to be presidents at the same time.”

A few ‘begats’ and ‘thou shalts’: An abbreviated history of lawyers

Where are the lawyers? As a retired one, I recently wondered about this, querying where in history we see lawyers mentioned and in what light? Actually, after thinking about it, I see little or no sign of lawyers for millennia.

Troubled Waters

As interest in outdoor recreation has surged, more people are clashing with property owners over the right to be on the waterways. The conflict over the uses of—and even the definitions of—public and private space is a legal conundrum bedeviling locales across the country.

Nonexistent ‘Critical Race Theory’ curriculum is caught in the crosshairs

More than 30 years ago, law professor Richard Delgado began writing law review articles emphasizing the pervasive and pernicious role of race in law and society. Delgado and other pioneering law professors called for a fundamental reorientation of legal studies on race. Concepts of how race impacts society and the legal system were at the forefront of the discussion, often through telling stories of those impacted by race and societal discrimination. These scholars became known as critical race theorists and their approach known as critical race theory.

Feb. 29, 1984: Guilty plea in Three Mile Island disaster

Roberts’ reference to memos of Blackmun on Roe v. Wade raises questions about SCOTUS justices’ private papers

The collected papers of late U.S. Supreme Court justices are typically of interest primarily to judicial biographers, legal researchers and a few journalists. On Dec. 1, during oral arguments in one of the most consequential cases of the term, a new aficionado of the genre revealed himself: Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

SCOTUS justices who look to ‘advocacy history’ find reasons to undermine precedent

Does the weight and meaning of a U.S. Supreme Court decision turn on the arguments presented beforehand? Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. appeared to suggest that the answer was yes during oral arguments on the constitutionality of a Mississippi abortion law that bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.

Weekly Briefs: Emmett Till probe closed; Black couple’s suit says appraisal changed with pretend white homeowner

DOJ closes Emmett Till investigation

The U.S. Department of Justice has closed its reopened investigation into the 1955 murder of Emmett Till, the 14-year-old Black youth tortured and shot…

Dec. 13, 1920: The Bisbee deportations are upheld

On the morning of July 12, 1917, Mrs. H.R. McLellan was startled by the sight of hundreds of men marching just below her Bisbee, Arizona, home. From her house on Chihuahua Hill, she could see them filing down Naco Road, escorted by men carrying rifles. Her husband immediately surmised what was happening: a roundup of the mining town’s striking smelter workers.

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