Judge Dolores Sloviter papers
Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Biddle Law Library [Contact Us]3460 Chestnut Street, Biddle Law Library, Philadelphia, PA 19104-3406
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Dolores Korman Sloviter is a Senior Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Sloviter was born in 1932 to a Jewish-American family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she attended Philadelphia High School for Girls. She graduated with a B.A. from Temple University in 1953. She graduated with her LL.B. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School (now known as University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School) in 1956 where she was one of eight women in her graduating class. At the law school, she served as a Comments Editor on the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.
Sloviter was in private practice with Dilworth, Paxson, Kalish, and Green in Philadelphia until 1972, when she joined the faculty at the Temple University Beasley School of Law. There she taught Antitrust Law, Law and the Elderly, and Civil Procedure until 1979. During her sabbatical at Temple, she travelled to England to study welfare rights and community legal services for the elderly. She also taught the Federal Judicial Clerkship Clinical at Temple Law from 1980 to 2012.
In 1979 President Carter appointed Sloviter to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, where she served as Chief Judge from 1991 to 1998. Sloviter was the first woman to serve on the Third Circuit and the fourth woman ever to serve on a United States Circuit Court. Sloviter is known for serving on a three-judge panel in 1996 that blocked the enforcement of the Communications Decency Act, which attempted to regulate indecency and obscenity on the internet, because it would infringe upon the free speech rights of adults. The Supreme Court upheld their ruling the following year in Reno v. American Civil Liberties Union. Judge Sloviter is also known for her antirust record.
For decades, Judge Sloviter has been a popular speaker at seminars and colloquia, often speaking about women in the legal profession. In 1990 she received a Fulbright Award to lecture in Santiago, Chile, and in 1994 she was the first federal judge to receive the Pennsylvania Bar Association's Judicial Award. While serving on the Third Circuit court, she formed a "Task Force on Equal Treatment in the Courts" to examine racial and gender bias in her own courts. She is a board member of the National Constitution Center and a member of the Trustees' Council of Penn Women. Her portrait in the Penn Law Portrait Gallery was unveiled in 2004.
Judge Sloviter took senior status in 2013, and later took inactive status in 2016. She no longer hears cases but remains active within the court's committees.
The Judge Dolores Sloviter papers, 1965-2012, consist of correspondence, speeches, and research materials that document Sloviter's active involvement in the legal profession.
Series I: Biographical Materials, 1965-2012, contains biographies and photographs of Sloviter as well as disks and transcripts from oral histories that she gave. Also included are correspondence and acceptance speeches related to awards that Sloviter received. (Note: Other awards that Sloviter received can be found in Series IV: Professional and Academic Organizations)
Series II: Engagements and Speeches, 1969-2012, consists of speeches that Sloviter gave at various events including legal conferences, university commencements, and ceremonies for other judges. Some folders contain photographs from the events. Also included are notes and correspondence relating to Moot Court competitions that Sloviter helped judge. The series is arranged chronologically.
Series III: Third Circuit Court of Appeals, 1978-2012, contains correspondence, notes, and programs from Sloviter's time on the Third Circuit Court, primarily documenting her involvement in circuit workshops and training activities. Also included are copies of court materials for cases and correspondence/reports from the Task Force on Equal Treatment in the Courts.
Series IV: Professional and Academic Organizations, 1978-2011, consists of correspondence, meeting minutes, and speeches from Sloviter's work with legal organizations and academic programs, including material related to the Penn Law School (now known as Penn Carey Law). Also included in this series is correspondence and speech drafts from Sloviter's Fulbright Scholar Program award to lecture in Santiago, Chile.
Series V: Women in the Legal Profession, 1976-2010, contains research notes, photocopies of collected resources, and Sloviter's speeches on women in the legal profession. The series also contains correspondence and news clippings from 1980 when Sloviter refused to attend a Lawyers Club of Philadelphia reception because it was held at the Union League which did not allow women at that time.
Series VI: Law and the Elderly, 1965-1980, consists of bibliographies, collected resources, research notes, and five volumes of a casebook written by Sloviter titled "Law and the Elderly." Also included is material related to Sloviter's time on the Pennsylvania Governor's Council on Aging and on the Board of Directors of the Senior Citizens Judicare Project. The series contains syllabi and instruction notes from a course titled "Law and the Elderly" that Sloviter developed and taught at Temple Law School. Also included is material from her sabbatical in London where she researched English legal services for older people.
Series VII: Publications, 1970-2007, contains drafts and published copies of articles written by Sloviter, primarily for law reviews.
The collection is arranged into the following series:
Series I. Biographical materials, 1965-2012; Series II. Engagements and speeches, 1969-2012; Series III. The Third Circuit, 1978-2012; Series IV. Professional and academic organizations, 1978-2011; Series V. Women in the legal profession, 1976-2010; Series VI. Law and the elderly, 1965-1980; Series VII. Publications, 1970-2007.
Received from Vikki Sloviter, 2017.
Processed by Elizabeth Wittrig, October 2021.
- University of Pennsylvania: Biddle Law Library
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- Elizabeth Wittrig; Biography written by Jana E. Pugsley
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