Gallery of United States Supreme Court composition templates

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest ranking judicial body in the United States. Established by Article III of the Constitution, the detailed structure of the Court was laid down by the 1st United States Congress in 1789. Congress, through the Judiciary Act of 1789, specified the Court's original and appellate jurisdiction, created 13 judicial districts, and fixed the initial size of the Supreme Court at six members; the number of justices on the Court changed several times over the ensuing 80 years.[1]

The Judiciary Act of 1801 would have reduced the Court's size to five members upon its next vacancy. However, the Judiciary Act of 1802 promptly restored the Court's size to six members before any such vacancy occurred; the Seventh Circuit Act increased their number by one in 1807, and the Eighth and Ninth Circuits Act set the court's size at nine in 1837. The 1863 Tenth Circuit Act added a tenth justice. However, the Judicial Circuits Act of 1866 eliminated the seat then vacant after the death of John Catron, and provided that two more would be eliminated as they became vacant. One more was eliminated at the death of James Moore Wayne in 1867, leaving the court with eight justices; the Judiciary Act of 1869 prevented the eighth seat from being eliminated and created one additional seat by setting the total number of seats at nine, where it has stood ever since.

Note that associate justices are listed, from left to right, in order of seniority.


  1. ^ "The Court as an Institution". Supreme Court of the United States. Retrieved January 25, 2018.

External links[edit]