Indiana federal court historical film now available online

A historical documentary on the federal courts in Indiana is now available to view in full online.

“And Justice for All: Indiana’s Federal Courts,” is made available online by the Historical Society of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The new documentary explores the history of the federal judiciary in Indiana and was commissioned in celebration of the bicentennial of Indiana's federal courts.

The hour-long film, along with a 74-page teacher’s guide, are available free of charge on the Southern District’s website. As an educational tool, the film is recommended for students in grades 8-11. The documentary includes re-enactments that focus on three landmark cases in the history of Indiana’s federal judiciary:

Ex parte Milligan, in which Indiana’s federal court played a role in answering the Constitutional question of whether a military tribunal can try civilians when civilian courts are operational. This Civil War-era case made its way to the Supreme Court of the United States.

• The bombing conspiracy case United States v. Ryan, et al., involving members of the Indianapolis-based International Association of Bridge and Structural Iron Workers, who were prosecuted for their roles in conspiring to bomb their way to the bargaining table. The bombing campaign resulted in the deaths of 21 people at the The Los Angeles Times and thousands of dollars in property damage. The 1912 conspiracy trial lasted three months and brought international media attention to Indianapolis.

• The Indianapolis Public Schools desegregation case United States v. Board of School Commissioners of the City of Indianapolis, which began in 1968 and continued until 2016, when the busing order of Judge S. Hugh Dillin finally expired.

The film debuted this year after production began in July 2016. The film was produced by Gudaitis Production, a documentary and educational film production company, led by David Gudaitis, Ph.D., Alan Backler, Ph.D., and Larry Laswell, M.A. The film was made possible by the contributions of members and sponsors of the Historical Society of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, an Indiana Historical Society Heritage Support Grant made possible by Lilly Endowment Inc., the Indiana Bar Foundation, and the R. B. Annis Educational Foundation.

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