Few chapters in American judical history have enjoyed as colourful a past as has the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. Created in 1891, its jurisdiction now encompasses California, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Arizona, Hawaii, and Alaska. David Frederick has mined archival sources including court records and legal papers throughout the West and in Washington, D.C., to document the Ninth Circuit's first fifty years. His findings are more than just a record of the court, they also provide a unique social and cultural history of the West. During these years, the court heard key cases involving railroads , the gold rush, Chinese immigration, organized labour, and use of natural resources. Many of the decisions from this period foreshadowed issues that are with us today. Frederick also documents the court's part in western development and in issues relating to World War I, Prohibition, New Deal legislation, and the evolving role of federal judges.
Frederick portrays the West's most important judicial institution with clarity and intelligence, reminding us that the evolution of the Ninth Circuit both reflected and the dramatic changes occurring in the West during its early years. This is a book that will appeal not only to lawyers, but to historians, sociologists, and general readers as well.