Society News

Bessie Margolin The Supreme Court’s Fair Labor Lawyer

Join us on June 9, 2021 Noon (EDT)

Marlene Trestman, author of Fair Labor Lawyer: The Remarkable Life of New Deal Attorney and Supreme Court Advocate Bessie Margolin.

“The Relevance of Chief Justice John Marshall”

Join us on April 29th at 4 pm (EDT) for a Virtual Lecture with Brad Snyder on Baseball and the Supreme Court. This event is free to members and $25.00 for non-members.
“Baseball, Curt Flood and the Supreme Court”

The 2021 Major League Baseball season opens on April 1st. Take a look back at some of the Court’s biggest baseball fans.

Supreme Court and Baseball

Read more about the Court’s most famous baseball case in Brad Snyder’s A Well-Paid Slave: Curt Flood’s Fight For Free Agency in Professional Sports.

To order signed copies click here.

Join us on Friday, April 16, 2021 for a Virtual Lecture with Brad Snyder on Baseball and the Supreme Court. This event is free to members and $25.00 for non-members.
“Plessy v. Ferguson and the Evolution of Test Cases”

We are pleased to announce that C-Span will be airing the SCHS’s joint program with the ACTL  “Plessy v. Ferguson and the Evolution of Test Cases” this week.  The first showing will be Sunday 3/28 on American History TV on C-Span-3 at 6 am EST; other airings will continue throughout the week. Join journalist Steve Luxenberg and distinguished oral advocates Carter Phillips and Seth Waxman for a fascinating look at the origin of Test Cases and how they are brought to the Supreme Court  by the Solicitor General and  by appellate lawyers.
Now Virtual: 2021 Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers

After much consideration, we have made the decision to host the 2021 Supreme Court Summer Institute for Teachers sponsored by the Supreme Court Historical Society virtually this year.

The dates of the Institute remain the same (June 17-22 for Session 1, and June 25-29 for Session 2) but no sessions will be held on Sunday (June 20 and June 27).

Due to the switch to a virtual institute, the $150 registration fee will be waived this year. Additionally, participants who attend all sessions and submit feedback surveys will receive a $200 stipend as a token of our appreciation for their time and attention.

The application deadline has been extended until April 1. Thirty participants will be accepted through a competitive process for each week. Please see the event page for details. Applicants will be notified of their status on April 15.  Please note that if you choose to attend this year’s virtual Institute, you will not be eligible to re-apply for future Supreme Court Summer Institutes.

If you have already submitted an application, please fill out this form to indicate whether you would like to keep your application active, defer your application to 2022, or withdraw your application by April 1, 2021.

If you have any questions regarding the Institute, please contact Erica Wang at [email protected] or Cathy Ruffing at [email protected].
Hitting Member Mailboxes Soon

The latest issue of the Society’s Quarterly Newsletter is on its way to all current members. Look for it in your mailbox in the next few days. Not a member? Join today.
A Lincoln, the Founders, and the Challenge of Self-government

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.

Click here for full event info
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.