Society News

The Society is delighted to announce a new virtual program. Join Professor Lucas Morel on Wednesday, March 10, 2021 at noon for “Lincoln, the Founders, and the Challenge of Self-government.



WHEREAS, in February, 2021, David T. Pride retired from the Supreme Court Historical Society after giving exemplary, unblemished and dedicated service for more than forty-one years; read full resolution here.

Joint Program between American College of Trial Lawyers and the Society

The 25th Anniversary of the VMI Case: Remembering Ruth Bader Ginsburg and United States v. Virginia (1996)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s opinion in the Virginia Military Institute (VMI)
case is perhaps the most important majority opinion she penned in her
27 years on the Supreme Court. Issued during her third term, the
decision held that VMl’s male-only admissions policy violated the equal
protection clause. It is heralded as a landmark decision because it went
further than any other to establish true sex equality as a fundamental
constitutional norm. It was also dear to Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s heart as
the culmination of her earlier efforts as a litigator to persuade the
Supreme Court to raise the standard of review applied to laws and
policies that discriminated on the basis of sex.
SCHS Launches New Documentary

On October 30, the SCHS went 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.

Documentary producer and the Society’s resident Historian, Clare Cushman, introduces the lesson plans here:

Lesson plans for teachers for this new documentary can be found here.

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. The FDR content is available here. 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” is available here.

Seventh Annual Salmon P. Chase Distinguished Lecture

Thursday April 22, 2021
7:00 – 8:30 PM

To register, please fill out the following form.

Hosted by the Georgetown Center for the Constitution and cosponsored by the Supreme Court Historical Society.

Together with the Supreme Court Historical Society, the Center sponsors the annual Salmon P. Chase Distinguished Lecture and Faculty Colloquium to commemorate important anniversaries and neglected figures in our constitutional history. On Thursday evening April 22nd, 2021, Professor Martha Jones of Johns Hopkins University will be delivering the Seventh Annual Salmon P. Chase Distinguished Lecture commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment. The event will be held virtually. Our previous Chase lecturers have included James Oakes, Eric Foner, Colleen Sheehan, William Ewald, Charles McCurdy, and Sandy Levinson.