At a Glance


The U.S. Supreme Court has shaped American ideals into practice since 1789, but how much do you know about this influential institution?

Supreme Court Historical Society

Supreme Court Historical Society

This site is designed to preserve and disseminate the history of the Supreme Court, from its first session in 1789 to the present. The main section presents the history of the Court, including a detailed timeline with biographical sketches of the chief and associate justices and the history of major decisions during the tenure of each Chief Justice. "How the Court Works" includes 17 short essays (150-700 words each) on the term of the justices, the types of cases they hear, and the role of the Chief Justice. In this section, users will find the text of opinions from 411 cases (130 from the Warren Court, 160 from the Burger Court, and 121 from the first seven years of the Rehnquist Court) heard by the Supreme Court between 1955 and 1993. There are also recordings of 10 sample cases, including Roe v. Wade. "Publications" features four articles, Historical Society yearbooks from 1976 to 1990, and six digitized volumes that include the memoirs of Henry Billings Brown. For students and instructors, the "Learning Center" is an excellent resource. It presents three cases for and about students and four landmark cases that illustrate the development of the Court's gender discrimination doctrine. There are also activities and lesson plans on key Supreme Court cases, for example Plessy v. Ferguson and Brown v. Board of Education. The site provides several quizzes, along with a multimedia presentation about President Franklin Roosevelt and the 1937 Supreme Court controversy. This material will be useful to anyone interested in studying the Supreme Court, the court's history, and various justices.