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Federal Court History on Display in San Diego

The United States District Court for the Southern District of California invested significant time and effort into an exhibit marking the 50th anniversary of the district, which was established by Congress in 1966.

The Southern District’s 50th anniversary exhibit was installed in the jury assembly room of its newest courthouse.


The project involved judges, court staff and design assistance from the Ninth Circuit. A private vendor built the final product to court specifications.


The exhibit, titled “Then and Now: A History of the Southern District of California Since 1966,” is situated in a jury assembly room of the new James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep U.S. Courthouse in San Diego. The display consists of a time line that stretches some 25 feet. It is divided in five panels, each depicting 10 years in the district history. Through images and text, the time line relates important cases, appointments of Southern District judges and court officers, court statistics and local San Diego history.


Also prominently displayed in the exhibit is information about the district’s courthouses. Four of the five decades feature a representative courthouse,

including the Jacob Weinberger U.S. Courthouse constructed in 1913 as a U.S. Post Office and Custom House, which now houses the U.S. Bankruptcy Court

for the Southern District.


The exhibit was a joint effort between the Southern District and the Office of the Circuit Executive for the Ninth Circuit. The design in San Diego included District Judge Janis L. Sammartino, District Clerk John P. Morrill, Court Architect David G. Allen, and Secretary to the Clerk of Court Lisa Christensen, conceptualized the scope of the exhibit and conducted the research for key points along the time line.


The Ninth Circuit’s Alex Clausen, a graphic artist and audio and video specialist provided design support, helping to visualize and organize 50 years of court history. Once the design was completed a local San Diego exhibit producer, Impact Visual Arts, printed,

assembled and installed the work.


The exhibit was officially unveiled on September 16, 2016, as part of a larger celebration of the district’s 50th anniversary.

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