The Volokh Conspiracy

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Today in Supreme Court History

Today in Supreme Court History

|The Volokh Conspiracy |

I have now posted 366 installments of "Today in Supreme Court History," one for each day of the past year (including February 29). Finding something SCOTUS-related for every day of the calendar was complicated.

There were some easy dates to find:

  • Dates on which famous Supreme Court cases were argued and decided.
  • Dates on which the Justices were born, confirmed, took the oath, resigned, or died.
  • Dates on which Presidents nominated a Justice to the Supreme Court.

Those dates filled up about half of the calendar. But there were huge gaps--especially over the summer, when the Court and the Senate are usually not in session.

Next, I moved to more creative Supreme Court connections: I searched the Supreme Court cases database on Westlaw for specific dates, like "September 6" or "July 9." Then I went through hundreds of entries to find specific facts in a case that referenced that date. I tried to only include cases that were well-known. Even with this approach, I still had dozens of empty date.

Next, I got even more resourceful. I looked through the chronology of the Constitutional Convention, which stretched through the summer of 1787, as well as the subsequent ratification process. I also referenced the publication date of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. I also added dates from the ratification process of the twenty-seven amendments. Admittedly, these events are more tangentially related to the Supreme Court. Yet, I still had some blanks.

Next, I looked at the dates of birth, death, and inauguration of the Presidents. Then I referenced the Justices that President would ultimately appoint to the Supreme Court.

Finally, I had about a dozen or so slots left. I simply added fun facts about American history that bear no real relationship to the Supreme Court. I welcome any suggestions of dates to add.

I have become fond of this feature, and received some favorable feedback. I will restart it tomorrow. On October 7, 1982, I.N.S. v. Chadha was argued.