Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Todd Peppers continues to publish exciting work on the history of the Supreme Court

(1) Left to right: Charles Peppers, Dr. Todd Peppers, and Joe Giarratano, former death row inmate who spoke at Roanoke College several years ago.

(2) Arthur Thomas, long-time messenger to Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
(3) Left to right: Vance Morrison, Robert Jacoby, Charles Bush, and Stuart Polly, October Term 1954

Not just one but three of Dr. Peppers’ projects are about to appear in print.

One of them is a book manuscript. It focuses on the life and career of Russ Ford, the long-time Virginia death row chaplain. The book was co-written with Pastor Ford and Dr. Peppers’ oldest child, Charles. The book will be published in late 2022 by the University of Virginia Press. (Picture 1)

Charles became interested in my work at a young age and has travelled to death penalty conferences with me and met many of the individuals about whom I write.

Another work is an article, just published in the Journal of Supreme Court History, on Arthur Thomas, the long-time messenger to Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. “Arthur A. Thomas: A Hero of a Valet” examines “the actions of a historically obscure man who took it upon himself to preserve Holmes’ memory.” Thomas worked for Holmes from 1915 to the Justice‚Äôs retirement in January of 1932. After the death of Justice Holmes in 1935, Thomas took it upon himself to place annual in memoriam notices in local newspapers, to honor his former boss. Dr. Peppers’ account provides insights on Thomas’ actions and motivations, the role of messenger, as well as his relationship with Holmes. (Picture 2)

Later this spring (2022) the Journal of Supreme Court History will publish another of Peppers’ essays, on Charles Bush, the first black teenager to work as a page at the United States Supreme Court. (Picture 3)

Kalie Morris, Contributing Writer
Edited by Andreea Mihalache-O’Keef

A little about Dr. Peppers…

At RC since: Fall, 2002
Field within Public Affairs:Ph.D. in Political Science from Emory. His subfield would be considered “Law and Courts.” He studies judicial institutions and the death penalty.
Favorite class to teach:Civil Liberties. It’s fun to engage in discussions with students on how the Supreme Court defines and protects our fundamental rights and liberties.
Favorite aspect of your profession:Teaching students.
Advice for RC students:Embrace all the wonderful opportunities that Roanoke College offers.