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Oral History and the Study of the Judiciary

25 Pages Posted: 31 Mar 2010 Last revised: 28 Jun 2010

Chad M. Oldfather

Marquette University - Law School

Date Written: June 28, 2010

Abstract

This essay, which is a review of William Domnarski’s “Federal Judges Revealed” (Oxford University Press, 2008), explores the usefulness of oral history as a vehicle for understanding the judiciary. “Federal Judges Revealed” presents the insights gleaned from a study of over 100 oral histories given by Article III judges, ranging across the span of the judges’ lives. The essay first explores the methodological strengths and weaknesses of oral history as a general matter, and then further develops the analysis through a review of three oral histories given by the late Seventh Circuit Judge Thomas Fairchild. The essay then turns specifically to Domnarski’s book, outlining the ways in which it contributes to our understanding of judges and the judiciary.

Keywords: oral history, judges, judiciary

JEL Classification: K19, K4, K41, K49

Suggested Citation

Oldfather, Chad M., Oral History and the Study of the Judiciary (June 28, 2010). George Washington Law Review, Vol. 78, p. 846, 2010; Marquette Law School Legal Studies Paper No. 10-15. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1580165

Chad M. Oldfather (Contact Author)

Marquette University - Law School ( email )

Eckstein Hall
P.O. Box 1881
Milwaukee, WI 53201
United States
414.288.8031 (Phone)

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