History of the Courts2023-04-08T10:15:20-04:00

The History of the D.C. Circuit Courts


The Murder of Phillip Barton Key

February 27th, 1859|History|

Congressman Daniel Sickles shot and killed Phillip Barton Key, U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia and son of Francis Scott Key, composer of the “Star Spangled Banner.”




“Technology in the Courtroom: Could it Change the Course of History?”

January 1st, 1882|History|

On July 31, 2008, the Historical Society sponsored "Technology in the Courtroom: Could it Change the Course of History?" The program explored the relative advantages and disadvantages of the use of technology to present evidence and arguments in a jury trial.



D.C. Law: Almost as Old as the Magna Carta?

December 4th, 1900|History|

Is it possible that remnants of the old British law and the laws of Maryland and Virginia are still on the books in the District of Columbia?

Now On Exhibit:
The History of the Courts of the D.C. Circuit

History of the Courts

Created amidst the controversy over President John Adams’s appointment of the so-called “Midnight Judges,” the Courts of the District of Columbia Circuit have been transformed and transformative over the two centuries of their existence.

Visit the exhibit to learn how the D.C. Circuit Courts were formed and the challenges overcome in their creation.

Calmly to Poise The Scales of Justice:
A History of the Courts of the D.C. Circuit

Purchase the book now for $30

or send a check to:

The Historical Society of the D.C. Circuit
Barrett Prettyman U.S. Courthouse
333 Constitution Ave NW, Room 4714
Washington, D.C.  20001