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Housekeeping: The Nature and Allocation of Work in the Federal Trial Courts, 24 Georgia Law Review 909 (1990)


This lecture, entitled "Housekeeping: The Nature and Allocation of Work in the Federal Trial Courts," is the seventy-third in the series named for John Sibley, a distinguished graduate of this law school. As only the second woman to give a Sibley lecture here, I am pleased that this lecture is published as a part of a symposium on Feminist Jurisprudence. As the title of this talk suggests, my project (of which this is a piece) is to examine the ways in which constructions and understandings of value—of what work and activities are important and what are less important—operate in the allocation of jurisdiction and authority in federal trial courts.

Use of the phrase "the federal courts" requires explanation. The topic of "the federal courts" as an object of scholarly inquiry is a relatively recent one. In 1953, Henry Hart and Herbert Wechsler—building on the work of Felix Frankfurter, James Landis, Wilbur Katz, and Harry Schulman—wrote a book entitled The Federal Courts and the Federal System. That title used the words "the federal courts" to denote a discussion principally focused on the jurisdictional authority of judges who, upon nomination by the President and consent of the Senate, are appointed pursuant to Article III of the Constitution and enjoy life tenure and salaries protected from diminution by Congress.

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