SCHS: About the Society — Rosette Detail

Publishing Program


The Society has developed a robust publishing program focused on producing books about the Supreme Court directed at general audiences. In 2011 it founded its own imprint: Article 3 Books.

The publishing program began in 1975 with a partnership with National Geographic Society to develop Equal Justice Under Law (Authors: Mary Ann Harrell, Burnett Anderson. National Geographic Society, Supreme Court Historical Society), a colorfully illustrated history of the Court coupled with a useful description of how it functions. The book sold well and was in print from 1965 to 1994.

In 1993 the Society published the seminal The Supreme Court Justices; Illustrated Biographies (Editor: Clare Cushman, CQ Press, Foreword by William H. Rehnquist). This compilation of biographies of all the Justices is considered a classic reference work. Review: Choice (ALA) Outstanding Reference Source in 1995. Updated in 2011.

In 2000 the Society collaborated with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to produce the first reference work on gender discrimination law accessible to high school and college students. Supreme Court Decisions and Women’s Rights: Milestones to Equality (Editor: Clare Cushman, CQ Press, 2000, 2010. Foreword by Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Describes the background and impact of more than 75 Supreme Court cases involving sex discrimination and features profiles of the plaintiffs and advocates involved in the cases.

Review: “The writing is clear and excellent throughout, avoiding the pitfalls of both oversimplification of complex issues and overly technical legalese.” History Magazine, David W. Levy.1

In 2000 the Society persuaded Modern Library to publish an annotated version of the diary of the wife of Justice John Marshall Harlan, which Clare Cushman had found languishing at the Library of Congress. Some Memories of a Long Life 1854-1911 (Author: Malvina Shanklin Harlan). Review: “A valuable personal look at a key figure in American judicial history,” Kirkus Review.2

To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education, the Society compiled essays by top scholars about the decision. Black White and Brown, The Landmark School Decision in Retrospect (Editors: Clare Cushman and Melvin Urofsky, CQ Press, 2004 Preface by William H. Rehnquist).

In 2011 the Society produced a narrative history of the Supreme Court told through eyewitness accounts from letters, diaries, interviews and oral histories by clerks, Justices, spouses, Court staff, attorneys and other observers. Courtwatchers: Eyewitness Anecdotes in Supreme Court History (Author: Clare Cushman, Rowman & Littlefield, Foreword by John G. Roberts). Reviews: “Opening this book is like peering into a fascinating scrapbook compiled over the centuries by Supreme Court Justices and those who knew them. It is a treat for anyone who cares about the Supreme Court and who wonders how it got to be the way it is today. I enjoyed it very much.” Linda Greenhouse, New York Times reporter.

“Cushman has written a truly entertaining and informative work on the nation’s highest court. The chapters are organized around themes such as the first years of the Supreme Court, appointment and confirmation of justices, circuit riding, feuds among the justices, how justices manage their workload, oral argument, a justice’s first year on the Court, stories by the law clerks, and how to know when to step down from the Court. Each chapter is completely infused with stories from those who were there, such as the justices, journalists, attorneys, spouses, children, and friends. Drawing from firsthand accounts, journals, letters, interviews, and books, the author has painted as rich a tapestry of life inside the Court as could possibly be imagined. This book is highly recommended for anyone interested in the history and culture of the Supreme Court. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.” — Choice Reviews3

Of Courtiers and Kings, Stories by Law Clerks about Their Justices (Co-editors: Clare Cushman and Todd Peppers, University of Virginia Press, 2015, Foreword by John Paul Stevens). “Nobody knows more about Supreme Court clerkships than Todd Peppers. Nobody has a better bird’s-eye view of the Supreme Court than Clare Cushman. All the essays in this book go to show why Supreme Court clerks play an important and intriguing role in the judicial process.” – J. Harvie Wilkinson III, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, author of Serving Justice: A Supreme Court Clerk’s View4

Martha Ann Alito, wife of Justice Alito, asked the Society to produce a collection of recipes by the late husband of Justice Ginsburg. Created by the Supreme Court spouses, this cookbook celebrates Martin Ginsburg’s generous use of his superior culinary skills to enhance conviviality at the spouse luncheons. Martin Ginsburg, Chef Supreme (Editor: Clare Cushman, Article III Books, 2011). Review: There is much of Marty Ginsburg’s humor in his recipes. His recipe for wild boar, concocted to cook the beast brought home for a New Year’s dinner by Justice Antonin Scalia after a hunting trip, ends with this instruction: “Throw out the roasted meat and drink the marinade (just kidding).” — NPRNews.5

Following on the unexpected success of Chef Supreme, the Society developed a history of how members of the Supreme Court have purposefully sought occasions to break bread together to reinforce civility and enhance cordiality. Table for Nine: Supreme Court Food Traditions and Recipes (Author: Clare Cushman, Article III Books, 2018, Foreword by Ruth Bader Ginsburg). Features 40 old and new recipes associated with the Justices and their families. Review: “The first chief justice, John Jay, liked oysters for breakfast. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. brought his lunch in a tin ammunition box. And Justice John Paul Stevens’ regular lunch was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with the crusts cut off.” AP News, Jessica Gresko.6

Scholarly Publications

From 1977 to 2006 the Society cosponsored the eight-volume Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800 (Editor: Maeva Marcus and staff. Supreme Court Historical Society, Columbia University Press) with a matching grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project reconstructed an accurate record of the development of the federal judiciary in the formative decade between 1789 and 1800 because records from this period are often fragmentary, incomplete, or missing. These volumes include documents relating to the appointment of the first 12 justices, the minutes, the docket book, original jurisdiction case files, appellate case files, attorney rolls, and records of the clerk’s office. Also included is the unofficial record represented by correspondence, diaries, newspapers, and other sources.7

Review: Marcus’s volume of documents makes vividly clear, more than any previous published source, the uncertainty, the distrust, the conflicts and the cross-purposes of the legal community as this strange new creature [the judiciary] emerged from the shadowy womb of Article III.” (American Journal of Legal History, on Vol. IV).

Journal of Supreme Court History, the Society’s flagship trimester periodical, is an interdisciplinary journal dedicated to educating the public about the history of the Supreme Court. Originally founded as an annual publication in 1976 the Journal publishes articles written primarily by historians, law professors, and political scientists, but has also featured essays by art historians, lawyers, judges, oral advocates, journalists, and librarians. Some of its articles have been significant for the impact that they have made on the field of U.S. constitutional history, as evidenced by the high number of citations:

  • Bragraw, Stephen G., “Thomas Jefferson and the American Indian Nations: Native American Sovereignty and the Marshall Court,” (2006).
  • Gordon, Sarah Barringer. “The Mormon Question: Polygamy and Constitutional Conflict in Nineteenth-Century America,” (2003).

Others are significant for providing original research about or a re-framing of a well-worn subject, such as a leading justice of the U.S. Supreme Court:

  • Paul Finkelman, “’Hooted Down the Page of History’: Reconsidering the Greatness of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney,” (1994).
  • Hobson, Charles. “John Marshall and the Fairfax Litigation: The Origins of Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee,” (1996). Perry, Barbara.
  • “Jefferson’s Legacy to the Supreme Court: Freedom of Religion,” (2006).
  • Urofsky, Melvin I., “Louis D. Brandeis: Advocate Before and on the Bench,” (2005).
  • Waldrep, Christopher. “Joseph P. Bradley’s Journey: The Meaning of Privileges and Immunities,” (2009).

Because of its connection to the Supreme Court Historical Society and the Supreme Court, the Journal also occasionally includes articles by sitting justices of the Court or by well-known former clerks or federal judges:

  • Prettyman, E. Barrett Jr. “Robert H. Jackson: Solicitor General for Life,” (1992).
  • Roberts, John G. Jr. “Oral Advocacy and the Re‐emergence of a Supreme Court Bar,” (2005).

Finally, the Journal encourages research by graduate students and law students by publishing the best in student scholarship on the history of the Court. In doing so, it helps young scholars launch their academic careers:

  • Hickman, Chris. “Courting the Right: Richard Nixon’s 1968 Campaign Against the Warren Court,” (2011).
  • Kruse, Kevin. “Person Rights, Public Wrongs: The Gaines Case and the Beginning of the End of Segregation,” (1997).

Clare Cushman has written and produced three 15-minute documentaries for high school civics teachers. They are available on youtube for classroom use. InHeritage directed the documentaries for the Society’s production company Article 3 Films.


1 “The writing is clear and excellent throughout, avoiding the pitfalls of both oversimplification of complex issues and overly technical legalese. The volume is quite marvelously illustrated throughout. There are also engaging boxed inserts that describe particularly dramatic cases or crucial personalities, a helpful glossary of the legal terms that appear in the text, and brief lists of suggested additional readings for each chapter. The book seems well pitched for undergraduate courses in women’s history and for basic courses in the history of women and the law, but it might also attract general readers who want a brief but reliable survey of women’s legal issues or of a particular issue. It is, in short, a lively, interesting, and scholarly survey of this important area of American jurisprudence.” – David W. Levy, University of Oklahoma

2 “Like Ruth Bader Ginsburg and so many other women at the beginning of the 21st century, Malvina Harlan almost 100 years earlier lived a life of change, one that required and rewarded courage, one that compelled her to alter her own sense of who she was and what she might expect to accomplish. This is the resonant tale that Modern Library hopes will attract so many readers. Harlan’s depiction of the perils, as well as the lures, of change remind us, however, not just of the courage of those like Justice Ginsburg who have turned new opportunity into extraordinary achievement. Malvina Harlan’s story also demonstrates the powerful obstacles to transformation lodged in women’s own fears, in the force of tradition operating at the heart of their understandings of themselves.” – New York Times

3 “The stories are often delightful, illuminating the personality of a justice or exploring an aspect of court life… We have reviewed a great number of books about the Supreme Court. This one is unique in its focus on human interest stories. This volume is informative and quite entertaining.” 
 American Bar Association

  • Clare Cushman, one of our most distinguished and experienced veteran Supreme Court observers, has panned a novel and indeed original eyewitness historical account from Court insiders, covering the lives and personalities from Jay though Roberts. Cushman’s familiarity with the apposite literature is as remarkable as it is sophisticated, resulting in a fascinating, eminently readable work that will appeal to cognoscente as well as the general public. Courtwatchers represents a major contribution and merits profound attention. — Henry J. Abraham, James Hart Professor Emeritus, University of Virginia

  • Too many studies of the Supreme Court are obsessed with ideas and politics with little attention to those who generate them. Clare Cushman provides a meticulously researched and thoroughly accessible antidote to the trend, and, for once the institution emerges with novelistic clarity as a collection of men, and eventually women, with vivid personalities, strong feelings, and every manifestation of the human condition. Cushman wisely relies on first-hand evidence from those on the inside to provide both authenticity and telling detail. A unique work. — Dennis J. Hutchinson, William Rainey Harper Professor, University of Chicago, and editor of The Supreme Court Review

  • Courtwatchers is more readable and fun than any Court history in recent memory. And its very existence stands as a symbol of how much the Court’s attitude has changed toward the public’s interest in the justices as real people, rather than oracles. — National Law Journal

4Of Courtiers and Kings paints a fascinating picture of how the Supreme Court clerkship, an extremely important but often opaque institution, has evolved over time. This carefully curated collection of rich historical essays will enlighten and delight both Supreme Court obsessives and readers who are new to the Court and the critical role it plays in our democracy.” 
- David Lat, Managing Editor of “Above the Law”, author of Supreme Ambitions

  • “If you’re a Supreme Court nerd or a legal history buff, or if you’re looking for a holiday gift for someone who’s a SCOTUS devotee, then I have a recommendation for you.”
 – Above the Law

  • Of Courtiers and Kings… offer[s] one of the best sources for understanding what has become an important institution as evidenced by law schools touting clerkships as a crowning achievement of their alumni, which is a pretty sure path to faculty lunch tables, the bench, and partnerships. This book will be a welcome addition to both academic and larger public law libraries.”

5 “Walk into the Supreme Court gift shop, and there, among all the books on the history of the court, is a cookbook — yes, a cookbook. Put together by the spouses of the Supreme Court justices, it is a tribute to a master chef, the late Martin Ginsburg, husband of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. By day, Marty Ginsburg was one of the nation’s premier tax law professors and practitioners. By night, he was one of the nation’s most innovative and accomplished amateur chefs. The idea for the cookbook, Chef Supreme: Martin Ginsburg, came from Martha-Ann Alito, wife of Justice Samuel Alito. It hit her the day after Marty Ginsburg’s memorial service in 2010. “One of my first conversations with Marty, in the fall of 2006, was about food and nourishment, and how satisfying an expression of love that it was for him,” she recalls. “And that, in part, led to the idea that we should put the cookbook together.” The other Supreme spouses quickly agreed. They had often teamed up with Marty Ginsburg to provide the food for the monthly spouse lunches. But none of them had any idea what a large undertaking the cookbook would be.

First, a word about Marty Ginsburg’s love affair with cooking. It began, strangely enough, when he was in the army at Fort Sill, Okla., with his new bride, the young Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Neither of the Ginsburgs knew much about cooking then, but one of their wedding gifts was The Escoffier Cookbook, the bible of French cooking. And so Marty, a chemistry major, began at page one and worked his way through the entire volume. As he observed in a speech in 1996, there was method to his madness then and later. “I learned very early on in our marriage that Ruth was a fairly terrible cook and, for lack of interest, unlikely to improve. This seemed to me comprehensible; my mother was a fairly terrible cook also. Out of self-preservation, I decided I had better learn to cook because Ruth, to quote her precisely, was expelled from the kitchen by her food-loving children nearly a quarter-century ago.” Justice Ginsburg takes umbrage, sort of. “I think that is most unfair to his mother,” she deadpans. “I considered her a very good cook. In fact, one of the seven recipes I made was her pot roast.” Over the years, Marty Ginsburg became a genuinely famous amateur cook, with a repertoire that ranged from French cooking, to Indian, to Italian, to Asian. So when it came to limiting the number of recipes for a cookbook, the task was daunting.

Enter Clare Cushman, director of publications for the Supreme Court Historical Society, which is publishing the book on a nonprofit basis. “We started out by dividing them into categories,” she explains. “So of course we have appetizers, soups, chicken dishes, fish dishes, meat dishes, desserts, as one would expect. But we were also looking for recipes that really showed his voice.” Cushman and some of her friends and co-workers cooked all the recipes they considered, narrowing the list to 106. “You get to know him while you’re cooking. The way he wrote recipes was as if he was explaining them to a friend,” she says. Working her way through the recipes, Cushman began to feel that “not only did I trust him that it would come out right, but that he was almost with me saying, ‘You can do it.’ ” She mentions one recipe in particular, for orange-scented biscotti, where the instructions were to “knead the dough several times and divide kneaded dough into two equal parts.” Chef Ginsburg advised: “This is a miserable, messy, ugly procedure because the dough is horribly sticky. Do your best.” There is much of Marty Ginsburg’s humor in his recipes. His recipe for wild boar, concocted to cook the beast brought home for a New Year’s dinner by Justice Antonin Scalia after a hunting trip, ends with this instruction: “Throw out the roasted meat and drink the marinade (just kidding).” Some of the recipes in this cookbook are quick and easy. Others are not. Martha-Ann Alito points out that the longest recipe in the book, covering four pages, is the recipe for making French baguettes. “It exemplifies how Marty approached life. Very exacting and very precise,” she says. Justice Ginsburg says it took her late husband more than a year to develop that recipe, experimenting with various approaches.” — NPR

6 AP News

7 “The quantity and quality of sources is both striking and remarkable. This work is indispensable to those interested in the early foundations of the American Republic and the American Judicial System.” (Choice on Volume II)

“Maeva Marcus and her staff have produced yet another splendid volume documenting the early history of the Supreme Court… “When the British Army sacked Washington in 1814, much of the official record of the Supreme Court of the United States perished in the fire that consumed its chambers in the Capitol. Other fires, moves, lapses in record keeping, and even editorial license on the part of some of the record-keepers have resulted in an incomplete and sometimes inaccurate record of the Court’s first decade of operation. In some instances, entire cases have been omitted from the Court’s official proceedings.

A lack of easily accessible primary resources has discouraged scholars from studying the early (pre-Marshall) Court–a Court which had to consider questions of central importance to creating a workable national government out of the constitutional blueprint.

Recognizing this problem, in 1977 the Supreme Court Historical Society, with the support of the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the Supreme Court itself, undertook a major research project, The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789-1800. The Project was designed to reconstruct an accurate record of the business of the Court during its earliest years. To carry out the project Dr. Maeva Marcus, the Project’s editor, assembled a highly trained staff of legal historians. As the National Archives contained only a small and incomplete collection relating to the court’s initial decade, the editorial staff of the Project had to conduct a massive search for documents. Its research in public archives, newspaper accounts, private collections of papers, and other sources here and abroad yielded a remarkable collection of over 20,000 documents.

After careful evaluation, the editors realized the necessity not only of presenting the Court’s cases during the period, but also of placing them within an historical context. It was then determined that the Project should be expanded to an eight-volume series to address adequately the needs of scholars and jurists for primary source material on the Court’s origins.”