Southeast’s University Press Celebrates History of Federal District Courts in Eastern Missouri

PrintST. LOUIS, Mo., Dec. 8, 2014 — Compiling the entire history of the federal eastern district court in Missouri was a large task that culminated in a festive reception hosted by U.S. Federal District Court Senior U.S. Dis­trict Judge E. Richard Webber Nov. 13 in the Thomas Eagleton Courthouse in St. Louis to launch Southeast Missouri State University Press’s new book, “And Justice for All: History of the Federal District Court in Eastern Missouri.”

The reception was held next to the En Banc Courtroom on the 28th floor of the Eagleton building, overlooking downtown St. Louis, Busch Stadium and the Mississippi River. Speakers included Webber, Chief Judge Catherine Perry, author Burton Boxerman and Dr. Susan Swartwout, publisher at Southeast Missouri State University Press. Guests included judges and attorneys, media representatives, local dignitaries and Southeast’s Board of Regents Vice President Kendra Neely-Martin.

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Chief Judge Catherine Perry

Webber had long desired to have a formal history of the Court. Webber formed a committee of experts that included prominent attorneys in the private practice of law who shared his pas­sion for legal history and the court system. The committee chose Burton Boxerman as interviewer/writer of the 492-page book.

The committee first approached University of Missouri Press to publish the book, but, as Webber related in his speech, they wanted to make too many changes and cut important material from the book. Federal District Judge Stephen Limbaugh Jr. suggested contacting Southeast Missouri State University Press, and Swartwout was enthusiastic about the manuscript.

“The book explains the roots of the federal court system and how judges are chosen,” Swartwout states, “as well as including biographies of the judges and their important cases, and photos of the judges, all in a cohesive, chronological order. Burton did a spectacular job creating the text. The casewrapped cover contains a beautiful photo of the Eagleton Courthouse, with photos of the other two eastern Missouri federal courthouses.”

Beginning with the Court’s roots in the Articles of the Confederation, Boxerman describes the history of the Federal Judiciary and its selection process that ensures rigorous consideration of qualifications. He includes the judges’ biographies, available photos, and discussions of many major cases and their implications, with copies in the appendix of the original, handwritten documents in the famous Dred Scott trial, including drawings of Scott and his family.

The book is available at the University Press website (www6.semo.edu/universitypress), Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble online, and is distributed by Partners and Baker & Taylor.