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The story of the federal courthouse on the New Haven Green is a perfect parable for the modern history of the federal district courts around the country. One hundred years ago, architect James Gamble Rogers built a post office with a courtroom attached as an afterthought. In the century since, the United States has built its lower federal courts into institutions of the first rank. If we want to understand the federal district courts and their contribution, including the District Court for the District of Connecticut, we need to be students of recent American history. And there is no better structure for encapsulating the story of the lower federal courts than a building built as if a post office for the ancients, repurposed as a temple of justice for moderns, backed by the authority of the federal government, and filled with people who for one hundred years now have heroically taken the rule of law to be a sacred mission.
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