The Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society

The Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society Governed by a Board of Directors, the NJCHS serves over 2,000 members, the legal profession, historians, court personnel, school children, and the general public.
NJCHS sponsors a number of programs and activities, including: Western Legal History, our scholarly journal; Oral History Program, recording the life stories of judges and other prominent members of the legal profession; Traveling Exhibit Program, displaying exhibits in courthouses, law schools, and other venues throughout the Circuit; and Programming on topics relevant to court history in the Ninth Circuit.

The mission of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society (NJCHS) is to preserve and promote the vibrant history of the law in the western United States and Pacific Islands, and to raise awareness of the important role that the judicial system plays in our society.

Mission: Founded in 1985, the mission of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society ("NJCHS") is to preserve and promote the history of the law in the Western United States and the Pacific Islands as well as educate the community it serves about the judicial system, the rule of law, and other civic values.

What do railroads and standard times zones have to do with one another?  Everything.  On November 18, 1883, the standard...
11/18/2019
Nov. 18, 1883: US railroads enact standard time zones

What do railroads and standard times zones have to do with one another? Everything.

On November 18, 1883, the standard time zones followed today in the U.S. went into effect through the efforts of railroad officials attempting to standardize schedules. The most recent issue of the ABA Journal chronicles this unique history - culminating in 1918 when Congress enacted official national time zones with the Standard Time Act.

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/us-railroads-enact-standard-time-zones

At 7:20 a.m. on Aug. 12, 1853, a Providence & Worcester Railroad train left its Rhode Island station, bound—as its name suggested—for Worcester, Massachusetts. At around the same time, a regularly scheduled P&W excursion train from the town of Uxbridge, near Worcester, was rattling toward Provid...

Amazing program on the Courts and the Press at the SF Courthouse!  Thank you Judge Fogel, Justice Stewart, Pam Karlan an...
11/06/2019

Amazing program on the Courts and the Press at the SF Courthouse! Thank you Judge Fogel, Justice Stewart, Pam Karlan and Maura Dolan for your intellectual rigor and insights!

Election Day HistoryEver wonder why elections are held on the first Tuesday in November?  The answer is lies with Americ...
11/04/2019
Election 101: Why do we vote on a Tuesday in November?

Election Day History

Ever wonder why elections are held on the first Tuesday in November? The answer is lies with America's 19th century farmers.

According to the wesbite History.com, in 1845 Congress passed a federal law designating the first Tuesday following the first Monday in November as Election Day. Previously, states were allowed to hold elections any time they pleased within a 34-day period before the first Wednesday in December. This system had several flaws, however, including the potential for early voting results to affect turnout and sway opinion in states that held late elections, and those same last-minute voters could potentially decide the outcome of the entire election. Faced with these issues, Congress created the current Election Day in the hope of streamlining the voting process.

But why a Tuesday in November? In the 1800s, most citizens worked as farmers and lived far from their polling place. Since people often traveled at least a day to vote, lawmakers needed to allow a two-day window for Election Day. Weekends were impractical, since most people spent Sundays in church, and Wednesday was market day for farmers. With this in mind, Tuesday was selected as the first and most convenient day of the week to hold elections. Farm culture also explains why Election Day always falls in November. Spring and early summer elections were thought to interfere with the planting season, and late summer and early fall elections overlapped with the harvest. That left the late fall month of November—after the harvest was complete, but before the arrival of harsh winter weather—as the best choice.

https://www.history.com/news/why-do-we-vote-on-a-tuesday-in-november

Ever wonder why elections are held on Tuesdays? The answer lies with America’s 19th-century farmers. Americans first began the custom of weekday voting in 1845,

Did you know?The Ninth Circuit has courthouses in San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Pasadena, but the Court often tra...
10/16/2019
Oral Arguments Calendar

Did you know?

The Ninth Circuit has courthouses in San Francisco, Seattle, Portland and Pasadena, but the Court often travels to locations throughout the Circuit to hold hearings. For instance, the Court sits in Honolulu three times per year, and is scheduled to hear oral arguments next week (Oct. 21-22, and 24) at 1132 Bishop Street, Courtroom Sult 250L, Honolulu. If you are in Honolulu, this is your opportunity to see the Court in action. If you can't make any of these hearings, you can always catch them online. Check the court calendar for case information: https://www.ca9.uscourts.gov/calendar.

While in Honolulu, the Ninth Circuit Court will also convene a special sitting on October 23 at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, William S. Richardson School of Law. Oral arguments begin at 9:30 am in the law school's Moot Courtroom, 2515 Dole Street. Oral arguments at the law school will not be streamed online.

Court Sessions documents are published once a year and include the month, date, and location that court will be in session. No case numbers or hearing information is included here.

What a wonderful evening tonight at the historic Rainier Club in downtown Seattle to celebrate the NJCHS Annual Gala.  T...
10/04/2019

What a wonderful evening tonight at the historic Rainier Club in downtown Seattle to celebrate the NJCHS Annual Gala. Thank you for all those who supported the Society and joined us tonight! Special thanks to Judge Robert Lasnik for leading our star-studded panel on the intersection of the courts and media.

Former Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Mary Schroeder is a true barrier breaker and role model for all lawyers.
09/30/2019
Mary Murphy Schroeder: She Broke Barriers From the Start

Former Chief Judge of the Ninth Circuit Mary Schroeder is a true barrier breaker and role model for all lawyers.

In 1979, Mary Murphy Schroeder joined a historic class of women judges who transformed the federal Judiciary, but her law career nearly ended before it began. The night before her first final law exam at the University of Chicago, Schroeder collapsed and was hospitalized with a severe kidney infecti...

Nevada was the last of the western states to allow women the right to vote in 1914.  Enjoy this panel explaining the his...
09/16/2019

Nevada was the last of the western states to allow women the right to vote in 1914. Enjoy this panel explaining the history of women's suffrage in Nevada as presented in the NJCHS' latest exhibit exploring the leading role of the west in bringing women the right to vote.

In 1912, Congress passed the "Home Rule" statute, created the Alaska territory.  In 1913, the first official act of the ...
09/09/2019

In 1912, Congress passed the "Home Rule" statute, created the Alaska territory. In 1913, the first official act of the newly created Alaska legisture was the vote to allow women the right to vote. Enjoy this panel of the NJCHS's most recent traveling exhibit detailing Alaska's role in helping the west to lead the way in securing women the right to vote.

Idaho and Oregon's fight for women's suffrage is displayed on the NJCHS's most recent traveling exhibit, detailing the W...
09/04/2019

Idaho and Oregon's fight for women's suffrage is displayed on the NJCHS's most recent traveling exhibit, detailing the West's leading role in bringing the right to vote to women.

The NJCHS Book on Cecil Poole, the first African American U.S. Attorney in the continental United States and the first A...
08/26/2019

The NJCHS Book on Cecil Poole, the first African American U.S. Attorney in the continental United States and the first African American federal judge in Northern California, is a big hit at the recent Homeschool Association of California Annual Conference! Thanks Dr. Kari Kelso for making that happen!

Like famous Suffragist Alice Paul, the Anchorage District Court family and the Anchorage Women Lawyers Association will ...
08/22/2019

Like famous Suffragist Alice Paul, the Anchorage District Court family and the Anchorage Women Lawyers Association will make a "Toast to Tenacity" celebrating the ratification of the 19th Amendment (with historically accurate grape juice!) at 4 pm on Wednesday, August 28th on the 2nd Fl. of the District Courthouse. The NJCHS Women's Suffrage Exhibit will be there too! Can't make it? See the Exhibit off the NJCHS.org website (grape juice not included).

Arizona's fight for women's suffrage is displayed on the NJCHS's most recent traveling exhibit, detailing the West's lea...
08/20/2019

Arizona's fight for women's suffrage is displayed on the NJCHS's most recent traveling exhibit, detailing the West's leading role in bringing the right to vote to women.

The NJCHS has created a traveling exhibit detailing the west's leading role in securing the right to vote for women.  Ov...
08/12/2019

The NJCHS has created a traveling exhibit detailing the west's leading role in securing the right to vote for women. Over the course of several weeks, we are sharing individual panels of the exhibit -- this week is our panel on California's efforts on women's suffrage.

For the past few years, the NJCHS has created detailed exhibits inspired by the theme of the Ninth Circuit's annual Civi...
08/06/2019

For the past few years, the NJCHS has created detailed exhibits inspired by the theme of the Ninth Circuit's annual Civics Contest for high school students. The exhbiits have traveled the Circuit to be enjoyed by students, teachers, attorneys, judges and court staff throughout the west.

The 2019-2020 Civics Contest theme will focus on voting rights in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the 15th Amendment and 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The NJCHS -- in coordination with the wonderful work of authors for the latest edition of Western Legal HIstory -- has designed an amazing, multi-panel exhibit focusing on women's suffrage and the west's role in leading the effort. The exhibit, like previous ones, will be available to districts throughout the Circuit.

Here is the introductory panel describing the exhibit, and the first substantive panel detailing the efforts in Washington state to gain women the right to vote. In the coming weeks, we will share the other panels describing suffrage efforts in the west. Enjoy!

NJCHS - Illuminating History.
07/29/2019

NJCHS - Illuminating History.

We are excited to be at this year’s annual Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Spokane.  Our newest exhibit on Women’s ...
07/21/2019

We are excited to be at this year’s annual Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference in Spokane. Our newest exhibit on Women’s Suffrage is prominently on display and plenty of swag is available for our members.

Did you know that each United States Supreme Court Justice is assigned to a Circuit Court of Appeals?  A Circuit Justice...
07/19/2019

Did you know that each United States Supreme Court Justice is assigned to a Circuit Court of Appeals? A Circuit Justice is primarily responsible for emergency requests (for example, an application to block an execution or allow it to go forward) from the geographic area covered by his or her Circuit, as well as more mundane matters, such as a request to extend the time to file a petition for review. Justice Elena Kagan currently serves as the Circuit Justice for the Ninth Circuit and is scheduled to attend the NInth Circuit's annual judicial conference next week.

The remaining Circuit Justice assignments are as follows:
*For the District of Columbia Circuit - John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice
* For the First Circuit - Stephen Breyer, Associate Justice
(Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island)
* For the Second Circuit - Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice (Connecticut, New York, Vermont)
* For the Third Circuit - Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice (Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virgin Island)
For the Fourth Circuit - John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice (Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia)
* For the Fifth Circuit - Samuel A. Alito, Jr., Associate Justice (Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas)
* For the Sixth Circuit - Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice (Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee)
* For the Seventh Circuit - Brett M. Kavanaugh, Associate Justice (Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin)
* For the Eighth Circuit - Neil M. Gorsuch, Associate Justice (Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota)
* For the Tenth Circuit - Sonia Sotomayor, Associate Justice (Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming)
* For the Eleventh Circuit - Clarence Thomas, Associate Justice (Alabama, Florida, Georgia)
* For the Federal Circuit - John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice.

114 justices have served on the United States Supreme Court since it was established in 1789.  This week, we lost one of...
07/17/2019
Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Who Led Liberal Wing, Dies at 99

114 justices have served on the United States Supreme Court since it was established in 1789. This week, we lost one of them -- Justice John Paul Stevens. Justice Stevens was appointed by President Ford in 1975 and served for 35 years until his retirement in 2010. He died in Florida on July 16, 2019, at the age of 99.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/07/16/us/john-paul-stevens-dead.html

On the Supreme Court, John Paul Stevens transformed from a Republican antitrust lawyer into the leader of the court’s liberal wing.

Do you have a copy of the latest issue of Western Legal History yet?  You should!  This issue is dedicated to women's su...
07/08/2019

Do you have a copy of the latest issue of Western Legal History yet? You should! This issue is dedicated to women's suffrage and details how the west paved the way for the rest of the country in bringing the right to vote to women. Editor-in-Chief, Ninth Circuit Judge Michael Daly Hawkins explains:

We choose to discuss the subject of women's suffrage now because next year America will celebrate the centennial of the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment, which extended the franchise nationwide. More than half a century eariler, beginning with Wyoming, the West understood that bringing women into the voting booth was a fundamental part of the governance of a free society. It remains something of a wonder that one-half of the American continent got it so right so much earlier. How and why that happened is eloquently explored in the writings that follow.

The Ninth Circuit currently has 29 authorized judgeships.  The Court's composition of judges changes from time to time d...
06/26/2019

The Ninth Circuit currently has 29 authorized judgeships. The Court's composition of judges changes from time to time due to retirement, resignation or death. So far, in 2019, the Ninth Circuit has welcomed four new judges: (1) Eric D. Miller, from Seattle, Washington; (2) Bridget Bade, former U.S. Magistrate Judge from Phoenix, Arizona; (3) Kenneth Kiyul Lee, from Los Angeles; and (4) Daniel P. Collins, from Los Angeles.

06/22/2019

So much fun at our Treasure Hunt Trivia Night with our friends from Farella, O'Melveny, Davis Wright and Tremaine, Goodwin Procter, Salesforce, Oracle and Airbnb! Thanks for your energy and enthusiasm -- Can't wait to see you all again next year!

Night at the Ninth 2019 with our fabulous teams!
06/22/2019

Night at the Ninth 2019 with our fabulous teams!

Night at the Ninth 2019 with our fabulous teams!

53 years ago today, on June 13, 1966, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in Miranda v. Arizona, es...
06/13/2019

53 years ago today, on June 13, 1966, the United States Supreme Court handed down its decision in Miranda v. Arizona, establishing the now well known principle that criminal suspects must be advised of their rights before interrogation. Specifically, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can, and will, be used against you in court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, one will be appointed to you.” The decision began with the report of a 18-year-old Phoenix woman being abducted and raped and the police questioning Ernesto Miranda about such crime. Although he was not identified by the victim, the police were able to obtain a brief confession from Miranda while in custody -- a confession he later recanted. After a trial in which no witnesses were called, Miranda was found guilty. The ACLU took up his case on appeal, arguing that his confession was coerced. The United States Supreme Court agreed, and reversed Miranda's conviction and established today's standard police procedure for advising criminal suspects of their rights prior to interrogation.

Save the date for Thursday, October 3, 2019!  The NJCHS will hold its annual Gala this year at Seattle's historic Rainie...
05/29/2019

Save the date for Thursday, October 3, 2019!

The NJCHS will hold its annual Gala this year at Seattle's historic Rainier Club, 820 4th Avenue, starting at 5 pm. Please consider joining us to honor the mission of the NJCHS and to explore the fascinating and complex relationship between the courts and the press with special guest speakers: Hon. M. Margaret McKeown, Hon. Robert Lasnik, Dahila Lithwick, Dean Marios Barnes and Lucy Dalglish.

05/20/2019
NJCHS: Judge Richard R. Clifton Video Oral History

One of the core functions of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society is to collect and preserve the rich oral history of the people who have helped shaped the history of law in the west. Our oral history committee is staffed with volunteers who spend endless hours doing just that. Here is a link to one of the many video oral histories that the NJCHS has compiled -- this one featuring Ninth Circuit Judge Richard Clifton from Hawaii.

https://youtu.be/pSuRkWuAV68

Brown v. Board of Education65 years ago -- on May 17, 1954 -- the United States Supreme Court issued it unanimous decisi...
05/16/2019

Brown v. Board of Education

65 years ago -- on May 17, 1954 -- the United States Supreme Court issued it unanimous decision in Brown v. Board of Education holidng that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Chief Justice Warren wrote for the Court: "in the field of public education the doctrine of 'seperate but equal' has no place," as segregated schools are "inherently unequal." As a result, the Court ruled that the plaintiffs were being "deprived of the equal protection of the laws guaranteed by the 14th Amendment."

The decision did not achieve school desegregation on its own, eventually leaving it to lower federal courts and school boards to proceed with desegregation "with all deliberate speed." Some officials followed this directive, while many school and local officials in the South did not. These events fueled the civil rights movement in the United States. Today, Brown v. Board of Education is seen as one of the most important decisions issued by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The History of Mother's DayCelebrations of mothers have taken place since the ancient Greeks and Romans held festivals i...
05/13/2019

The History of Mother's Day

Celebrations of mothers have taken place since the ancient Greeks and Romans held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. Thereafter, Christians celebrated "Mothering Sunday" on the fourth Sunday in Lent by retunring to their "mother church" (or the main church near their home) for a special service. Over time, this holiday shifted to a more secular holiday with children giving their mothers small gifts of appreciation.

In America, Mother's Day can be traced to Anna Jarvis who, in May 1908, organized the first Mother's Day celebration at a church in West Virginia as a way of honoring the sacrifices mothers made for their children. Ms. Jarvis was able to secure the financial backing of a wealthy department store owner named John Wanamaker, who on that same day in May 1908, held a Mother's Day event for thousbands of people at his retail store in Philadelphia. Following the success of her efforts in 1908, Ms. Jarvis worked to get her holiday on the national calendar -- arguing that most holidays of the time were biased toward male achievements. Ms. Jarvis started a letter writing campaign to newspapers and politicians urging the adoption of a national holiday to honor mothers. By 1912, many states and towns had adopted Mother's Day as annual holiday and, by 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day.

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95 7th Street
San Francisco, CA
94103

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Robyn Lipsky, Executive Director Rita Haeusler, Chair, Board of Directors

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