Category Archives: History of the Court

This Day in Supreme Court History—November 18, 1811

On this day in 1811, the Senate confirmed, by voice vote, two of President James Madison’s nominees to the Supreme Court, Joseph Story and Gabriel Duvall. [Joseph Story] At 32, Story was the youngest Supreme Court appointee in history. The two men received their commissions that same day. (Once they arrived at the Court, Duvall … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History—November 18, 1811

The Supreme Court and the Great Tomato Controversy

Over its long history, the Supreme Court has ruled on  many contentious legal issues: slavery and racial segregation, free speech and religious freedom, abortion and marriage equality. Perhaps it is not surprisingly, then, that our nation’s highest court has also weighed in on the biggest controversy ever debated in the produce aisle: whether the tomato … Continue reading The Supreme Court and the Great Tomato Controversy

This Day in Supreme Court History — October 27, 2005

On this day in 2005, Harriet Miers withdrew her nomination to the Supreme Court. George W. Bush had nominated Miers to replace the retiring Sandra Day O’Connor. According to NPR, conservatives had publicly expressed displeasure with her lack of judicial experience and concern that she might not be as pro-life as they would like. And … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History — October 27, 2005

Baseball and the Supreme Court

To celebrate the beginning of this year’s baseball World Series, let’s revisit a few of the moments when the national pastime and the nation’s highest court intersected. The Supreme Court played no small role in the development of major league baseball. In a series of three decisions spread out over the twentieth century, the Court … Continue reading Baseball and the Supreme Court

This Day in Supreme Court History—October 20, 1890

On this day in 1890, Justice Sherman Minton was born in Georgetown, Indiana. From early in life, Minton seemed to have a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Among his law school classmates at Indiana University was Wendell Willkie, the Republican ran unsuccessfully against  Franklin Roosevelt in the 1940 presidential … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History—October 20, 1890

On This Day in Supreme Court History—October 15, 1991

On this day in 1991, the Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court. Thomas, who President George H.W. Bush nominated for the seat that opened after the retirement of Thurgood Marshall, the first African American Supreme Court Justice, experienced one of the most contentious confirmation processes in American history. Critics of Thomas’ conservative record … Continue reading On This Day in Supreme Court History—October 15, 1991

Movie Review: Marshall

“Marshall,” a movie that opens this week, focuses on a young Thurgood Marshall as he defends an innocent black man accused of rape. The movie portrays the handsome and charismatic Marshall (played by Chadwick Boseman), arriving in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in 1941 to help defend Joseph Spell, as a man full of confidence and energy. He … Continue reading Movie Review: Marshall

On This Day in Supreme Court History—October 7, 1935

On this day in 1935, the Supreme Court moved into its current home on First Street in Washington, D.C. “After years of moving about and occupying ‘borrowed’ quarters,” read one news account of the day, “the Supreme Court at last has a home of its own—a home which reflects the dignity and prestige of the … Continue reading On This Day in Supreme Court History—October 7, 1935

Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!

Monday was the first day of the Supreme Court’s new Term. And yesterday, as has been done for more than 200 years, the Court’s marshal has called the Court to order during the Justices’ entry by saying: “Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!” The word is derived from the Anglo-Norman term for “hear ye,” according to supremecourthistory.org.  The … Continue reading Oyez! Oyez! Oyez!

This Day in Supreme Court History—August 24, 1814

On this day in 1814 the Supreme Court was torched by British troops. The United States was at war with Britain in what became known as the War of 1812. At the time, the Supreme Court chamber was on the first floor of the north wing of the Capitol building. It had been located here, … Continue reading This Day in Supreme Court History—August 24, 1814