Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Clinton in 1993, has died at the age of 87. "Our nation has lost a justice of historic stature," Chief Justice John Roberts said. "We at the Supreme Court have lost a cherished colleague. Today we mourn but with confidence that future generations will remember Ruth Bader Ginsburg as we knew her, a tireless and resolute champion of justice."

A full obituary and announcement are available here.

Society News:

  • SCHS Launches New Documentary

    On October 30, the SCHS will go live with its new educational documentary "The Supreme Court and the 1876 Election" which tells the story of the contested Hayes-Tilden election. Congress appointed a 15-member Electoral Commission that included 5 Supreme Court Justices to resolve that disputed election. While the documentary examines the saga of the contested returns and the two sets of electoral college votes sent to Congress, the main focus is on the role of Justice Joseph P. Bradley, who cast the deciding vote on the commission.

    This 15-minute documentary is intended for high school teachers to use in the classroom and is the second in a series of documentaries produced by the SCHS to focus on civics education and the interplay between the three branches of government. The first documentary "FDR and the Court-packing Controversy" can be viewed here. Lesson plans for teachers for this new documentary will be posted soon.


  • SCHS and ACTL - The Evolution of Test Cases Plessy v. Ferguson and the Evolution of Test Cases

    Recently, the Society partnered with the American College of Trial Lawyers for a virtual presentation featuring The Honorable Seth P. Waxman, Carter G. Phillips, Author Steve Luxenberg and the Society's own Clare Cushman. The Presentation: Plessy v. Ferguson and the Evolution of Test Cases, including the introduction by Society President Chilton D. Varner, was recorded live and is available to Society members to view by accessing the following link: https://vimeo.com/bicts/download/465121449/1bc1a57416


  • The U.S. Capitol Historical Society hosted the 2020 National Heritage Lecture on September 14, 2020

    You can watch here: https://uschs.org/news-releases/2020-national-heritage-lecture/

  • New Multimedia Exhibit on Alabama and the U.S. Supreme Court

    The ABA’s Silver Gavel Awards, which recognize outstanding work that fosters the public’s understanding of law and the legal system, chose “Alabama Justice: The Cases and Faces That Changed a Nation” as a 2020 Finalist in its Multimedia Category. The exhibit is the brainchild of Steven P. Brown, political science professor at Auburn University who was the winner of the SCHS’s Hughes-Gossett Award in 2017. Click here for further reading.

  • New Acquisition: Stephen Field’s 1885 Term Docket Book

    There are many stories about the link between baseball and the Supreme Court, but the safeguarding of Justice Stephen Field’s 1885 Term Docket Book has not been one of them, until now. Apparently a baseball memorabilia collector preserved the book because someone pasted into it baseball box scores from the 1888 season of the Washington Senators—not because of its connection to the highest court in the land. It eventually fell into the hands of a dealer near Richmond, VA who realized its significance and contacted the Supreme Court Historical Society. Click here to continue reading.

  • FDR and the Courtpacking Controversy

    Our documentary chronicles the 168 days between FDR's fireside chat announcing his plan to enlarge the Supreme Court to as many as 15 justices in February 1937 and the defeat of his Court-packing scheme in July. It draws on contemporary cartoons and video footage to recount the twists and turns of this riveting episode in Supreme Court history.
    The documentary is accompanied by specially designed lesson plans for high school teachers to help students learn about the Courtpacking episode, which highlights important issues about separation of powers. Clare Cushman has provided an introduction to this educational video available here. The lesson plans to accompany the cartoon-rich short documentary "FDR and the Court-packing Controversy" are available here.


  • Technology and the Court

    As the Conference has decided to hear oral arguments by telephone in May, an unprecedented development, we thought we would look back to the arrival of phones at the Supreme Court. Click here to read further.



  • Pandemics and the Court

    While we are certainly in unprecedented times in our lifetimes, it is not the first time in the history of the Court that steps have had to be taken to avert the consequences of a pandemic. To understand the history of pandemics and the Court, read the following article by Clare Cushman, the Society’s Director of Publications and Resident Historian. Please click here to read further.



Upcoming Event:

  • Join Us for a Discussion - Louis Brandeis and Social Justice

    During the 1910s, an ordinary Dupont Circle row house was one of the city's leading political salons and a meeting place for young progressives, including Felix Frankfurter, Walter Lippmann, and Louis Brandeis.
    Join us for a discussion about how Frankfurter, Lippmann, and other House of Truth regulars joined forces to fight for Brandeis’s Supreme Court confirmation in 1916. The discussion will feature Brad Snyder, Constitutional Law Professor at Georgetown University, and Jennifer M. Lowe, Director of Programs and Strategic Planning, Supreme Court Historical Society. National Archives Museum Online: Wednesday, November 18, 2020 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
    Register: https://archivesfoundation.org/event/supreme-court-justice-louis-d-brandeis/
    Presented by the National Archives Online in partnership with the Capital Jewish Museum and the Supreme Court Historical Society.



  • Supreme Court Historical Society New York Gala

    The Gala has been rescheduled for Wednesday, April 7, 2021 at The Plaza Hotel in New York City. Honoring Michael R. Bloomberg, Extraordinary business person, philanthropist, author and public servant


The Society's headquarters is located at Opperman House, 224 East Capitol Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20003. Opperman House has two important resources: The Goldman Library and the Membership Lounge. The Goldman Library has a conference table suitable for small meetings and luncheons. The books housed therein have been collected through the efforts of Professor James B. O'Hara, a Trustee of the Society, and comprise an outstanding collection of judicial biographies, Justices' writings, and histories of the Court.

Contributions to the society may take many forms including direct financial support, grants, in-kind gifts, and bequests. Donors may designate the purpose for which a gift must be spent. Gifts to assist the Society meet its general operating budget are always needed. In addition, the Society works closely with the Supreme Court to acquire and maintain art, antiques, artifacts, and memorabilia documenting the history of the Court for display in the public and private areas of the building. You may click the link here to be taken to our giftshop where you may make an online donation to the Society. You may also call the Society at 202.543.0400 for more information

Our members are the reason we exist! Without your continued support our programs, events and publications would not be available. If you are not a member, please consider joining today. You will receive invitations to all of our events, the Journal of Supreme Court History, the Quarterly newsletter as well as access to the Society's Headquarters in Washington D.C.

Please visit our giftshop located inside the Supreme Court or here online. All members receive a 20% discount on items purchased.