Welcome!

The D.C. Circuit is one of the thirteen federal court circuits and consists of the U.S. District Court (a federal trial court) and the U.S. Court of Appeals. The Circuit covers the smallest geographic area of any of the circuits - its jurisdiction extends only to Washington D.C. - but it historically has had an outsized influence on the law as a frequent forum for litigation involving federal government agencies. The Historical Society, which was started in 1990, brings the Circuit's rich legacy to life through articles and oral histories, reenactments, displays and publications, archival preservation, and a mock appellate argument program for area high school students.

What's New

OCT
06

Judge Flannery The Ninth Annual Judge Thomas A. Flannery Lecture
Presented by Rod J. Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General of the United States with additional remarks by Robert E. Morin, Chief Judge of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 - 5:00 p.m.
United States Courthouse, Ceremonial Courtroom
333 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C.

A reception will follow in the Courthouse Atrium.
RSVP here for the event.










OCT
04

Newsletter Read our Latest Newsletter
Read the Society's latest newsletter to learn about upcoming events -- our reception for Law Clerks, our Tinker and Mock Court programs for D.C. high school students --, oral history news, and much more.







SEP
29

Robert Kapp, Esq. Oral History of Robert Kapp, Esq.
Legal careers don't follow straight, predictable lines as Robert Kapp's new oral history demonstrates. After learning his trade as a litigator in the Tax Division of the Justice Department, he went to Hogan & Hartson (Hogan Lovells) to continue doing tax work. He became partner, but involvement with the ACLU, representation of Abbie Hoffman and the firm's nonprofit clients, and participation in Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign in 1968 changed him. He became active with the Washington Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, the National Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, and the International Human Rights Law Group. Still later, he helped found International Senior Lawyers to mobilize volunteer lawyers to work on human rights and economic development overseas. Little wonder American Lawyer gave him a lifetime achievement award in 2012. Looking back over almost 60 years of practice, Kapp says it was less money-driven when he started. Irv Nathan was Kapp's interviewer














SEP
25

Judge Kollar-Kotelly.jpg Portrait of Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly
The portrait of Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly was presented to the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia on September 15, 2017, in a ceremony presided over by Chief Judge Beryl A. Howell. A photo of the portrait now appears in the Society's on-line portrait exhibit. Danni Dawson is the portrait artist.










SEP
19

Updated List of Papers of Judges on the D.C. Circuit Courts
The personal papers of many of the judges who have sat on the D.C. Circuit Courts are archived. The attached listing, prepared by the Federal Judicial Center, provides the locations of the archived papers. The listing also identifies manuscript collections that include correspondence from judges of the D.C. Circuit Courts. Take a look!


SEP
12

Joe Rauh Legendary attorney Joe Rauh's finest hour may have been his defense of the famous playwrights Lillian Hellman and Arthur Miller in hearings by the House Un-American Activities Committee during the "red scare" of the 1950s. And writer Genevieve Beske captures the moment perfectly in an article based on Rauh's oral history. Best of all, is her recounting of the two weeks that Miller stayed at Rauh's house during the hearings. Stealing the scene there was Miller's wife, actress Marilyn Monroe.













SEP
04

Thomas Williamson, Jr., Esq. At age ten, Thomas Williamson, Jr. persuaded his parents to let him travel across the United States by train, alone. An expert on trains and an African American, he was sure the Pullman porters would take care of him. The integrated community in Northern California where he grew up was less affected by racism than other parts of America, and so he was surprised when the San Francisco Chronicle reported his winning a junior high election. The Williamson children were hardly typical. He and both his siblings went to Harvard. His oral history is, therefore, a story of race in modern America told through a unique perspective. Sadly, as compelling as is the story Williamson tells, it is incomplete, cut short by Williamson's early death. He didn't have time to tell about his service as President of the DC Bar and Solicitor of Labor and his many other accomplishments. Precious Boone, Associate Counsel at MERSCORP Holdings, Inc., was the interviewer.













AUG
25

Judge Mikva How does one make the transition from being a Congressman to being a DC Circuit judge? Read Judge Abner J. Mikva's oral history.









AUG
10

Judge Harris What's it like growing up when your dad is manager of a major league baseball team? Read Judge Stanley S. Harris' oral history.









JUL
26

Roger Wollenberg Roger Wollenberg at WilmerHale discusses his clerking for Justice Douglas and working with his fellow clerk, Louis Oberdorfer. Read more of Roger Wollenberg's oral history.









JUL
18

Bob Trout The big case: Bob Trout discusses his defense of Congressman William Jefferson in a bribery case and during the aftermath of Enron's collapse. Read more of Bob Trout's oral history.