Preserve and promote knowledge of the history of the development of the law in the Tenth Circuit and the judges and notable lawyers who have served in the Circuit.
The Tenth Judicial Circuit is vast, comprising 560,625 square miles, or almost 20 percent of the land mass of the United States. It extends from the Great Salt Lake to the Missouri River and from Yellowstone to Mexico. Most of this land was acquired from France in the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 for the price of three cents an acre.
When Congress created the present federal appellate system in 1891 it established nine circuits, the largest of which, the Eighth, consisted of thirteen states. In 1929 Congress created the Tenth Circuit by splitting off six states: Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming, leaving the remaining seven states in the Eighth Circuit.
The Tenth Circuit and its federal courts have a glorious history. Each state was a territory before achieving statehood and had federal territorial courts that existed during sometimes tumultuous times.
Founded in 2003, the Tenth Circuit Historical Society celebrates, researches, investigates, writes and preserves the Circuit's story and publicizes our shared history. The Society gathers and presents information on the judges, lawyers, litigants, courthouse, and cases that shaped the Circuit's history.
Its goals include: 1) enhancing communication and understanding between judges and lawyers; 2) promoting a greater appreciation of the work done by both the bench and bar; 3) explaining how things got to be the way they are and the historical reasons why they developed the way they did; and 4) enhancing professionalism in the law by teaching and utilizing the valuable experiences of those who preceded us.
Our Fireside Chat programs have featured unforgettable visits with U.S. Supreme Court Justices Elena Kagan, Sonia Sotomayor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg Stephen G. Breyer, and Sandra Day O'Connor.
Our newsletters bring you information about prominent judges and lawyers and interesting courthouses in our six-state region.
We sponsor court history programs in Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah, and Wyoming.
Our website features chapters summarizing the history of the federal courts in the Circuit, biographies of prominent lawyers and judges, and photos of many of the courthouses in our region.
Our evolving history displays in exhibits at the Byron White U.S. Courthouse inform visitors about the fascinating controversies and people who have shaped our region.