Status: Wait List

Supreme Court History

Selected landmark decisions and opinions of the Supreme Court

Spring 2024
Monday Afternoon
Moderator: Jay Russell



This seminar will explore a selection of major Supreme Court decisions and opinions, as well as some of the preeminent Justices who have served on the Court.


Over the course of its 233-year history, the Supreme Court has rendered many landmark decisions (more than 1,200 in one compilation) from Marbury v. Madison in 1803 to Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization in 2022. Some decisions are considered landmark for their positive result (e.g., Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka), others for their negative conclusion (e.g., Dred Scott v. Sandford). Some of these cases are considered notable for dissenting opinions that critique the majority opinion or enunciate reasoning or principles subsequently adopted by the Court. Many of the opinions the seminar will consider were written by Justices regarded as preeminent by historians and legal scholars. In addition to their significance as Justices, many had interesting lives and distinguished careers prior to their appointment to the Court. Over the course of the seminar, we will examine the cases and Justices listed on the handout linked to the online catalog description of the seminar.

ROLE OF PARTICIPANTS: Each member of the seminar will give a 25-35 minute presentation on one of the topics in the handout and will have the opportunity to participate in the discussion period following each presentation.

As background for the seminar, participants are encouraged to read a general history of the Supreme Court, such as A History of the Supreme Court (1995) by Bernard Schwartz or A People’s History of the Supreme Court (2006) by Peter Lyons.

ABOUT THE MODERATOR: Jay Russell is a retired attorney and has been an FCLIR member since 2013. He has co-moderated or moderated a dozen seminars, including a previous Supreme Court one in 2017.