Judiciary Act of 1869
The Judiciary Act of 1869, sometimes called the Circuit Judges Act of 1869, a United States statute, provided that the Supreme Court of the United States would consist of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, established separate judgeships for the U. S. circuit courts, for the first time included a provision allowing federal judges to retire without losing their salary. This is the most recent legislation altering the size of the Supreme Court. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Supreme Court of the United States shall hereafter consist of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, any six of whom shall constitute a quorum. In addition, it stipulated that each of the nine circuit courts of the United States would have a circuit judge appointed who would reside in that locale and have the same power and jurisdiction as the Supreme Court justice assigned to the circuit.
It was stipulated that the Chief Justice and each of the associate justices had the duty to sit at least one term in the circuit every two years. The circuit court could be held by the circuit judge, the Supreme Court justice, or the two could hold the court together, in which case the Supreme Court justice would preside. Up until this time, circuit courts were only staffed by district judges and Supreme Court justices "riding circuit." The salary of the circuit court judgeships created was set at $5,000 a year. In addition, the act stipulated that federal judges who had served for ten years or more would receive a pension upon their retirement; the pension was set at the salary of the judge at the time of retirement. A judge had to be at least seventy years old at the time of retirement. There were eight justices serving on the Supreme Court at the time; the Judicial Circuits Act of 1866 had provided that the Court be reduced in size from ten to seven justices upon its next three vacancies, but the reduction was to occur only when the serving justices created such vacancies either through death or retirement.
As only two seats were vacated between 1866 and 1869, only one new seat was implemented with the creation of the Act. Joseph P. Bradley was the first Justice appointed to this newly created seat. An earlier version of this legislation had been approved by the 40th Congress at the close of the session in March 1869, but fell victim to a pocket veto from outgoing President Andrew Johnson; the act was the third time. The first time was the soon-repealed Judiciary Act of 1801, the second was a single circuit judgeship in the frontier state of California which only lasted from 1855 to 1863. Though the law did not abolish circuit riding by the justices of the Supreme Court, it reduced the burden by requiring each justice to attend circuit court in each district within his circuit only once every two years. Circuit court riding would be abolished by the Judiciary Act of 1891; the circuit courts themselves were abolished by the Judicial Code of 1911, which transferred their trial jurisdiction to the U.
S. district courts
John Rutledge was an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States and its second Chief Justice. Additionally, he served as the first President of South Carolina and its first Governor after the Declaration of Independence. Born in Charleston, South Carolina, Rutledge established a legal career after studying at Middle Temple in the City of London, he was the elder brother of a signatory of the Declaration of Independence. Rutledge served as a delegate to the Stamp Act Congress, which protested taxes imposed on the Thirteen Colonies by the Parliament of Great Britain, he served as a delegate to the Continental Congress before being elected as Governor of South Carolina. He served as governor during much of the American Revolutionary War. After returning to Congress, Rutledge was appointed to the South Carolina Court of Chancery, he was a delegate to the 1787 Philadelphia Convention. During the convention, he served as Chairman of the Committee of Detail, which produced the first full draft of the Constitution.
The following year he participated in the South Carolina convention to ratify Constitution. In 1789, President George Washington appointed Rutledge as one of the inaugural Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. Rutledge left the Supreme Court in 1791 to become Chief Justice of the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas and Sessions, he returned to the Supreme Court, this time as Chief Justice, following the resignation of John Jay in June 1795. As the vacancy came during a long Senate recess, Washington named Rutledge as the new chief justice by a recess appointment; when the Senate reconvened in December 1795, it rejected Rutledge's nomination by a 10–14 vote. Rutledge resigned his commission shortly thereafter, withdrew from public life until his death in 1800, he holds the record for the shortest tenure of any Chief Justice. His was the first Supreme Court nomination to be rejected by the Senate, he remains the only "recess appointed" justice not to be subsequently confirmed by the Senate.
Rutledge was the eldest child in a large family in South Carolina. His father was the physician, his mother, South Carolina–born Sarah, was of English descent. John had six younger siblings: Andrew, Sarah, Hugh and Edward. John's early education was provided by his father until the latter's death; the rest of Rutledge's primary education was provided by an Anglican priest. John took an early interest in law and "played lawyer" with his brothers and sisters; when he was 17 years old, Rutledge began to read law under a man named James Parsons. Two years Rutledge sailed to England to further his studies at London's Middle Temple. In the course of his studies, he won several cases in English courts. After finishing his studies, Rutledge returned to Charleston to begin a fruitful legal career. At the time, many new lawyers scraped together enough business to earn their livings. Most new lawyers could only hope. Rutledge, emerged immediately as one of the most prominent lawyers in Charleston, his services were in high demand.
With his successful legal career, he was able to build on his mother's fortune. On May 1, 1763, Rutledge married Elizabeth Grimké. Rutledge was devoted to his wife, Elizabeth's death on July 6, 1792, was a major cause of the illness that affected Rutledge in his years. John and Elizabeth had 10 children: Martha Henrietta, John, Edward James, Frederick Wilkes, William Spencer, Charles Wilson, Thomas and States Whitcomb. In mid-1765 Rutledge was an important figure in the Stamp Act Congress; this congress produced a resolution that stated that it was "the undoubted right of Englishmen, that no taxes be imposed on them but with their own consent, given or by their representatives." Rutledge chaired a committee that drew up a petition to the House of Lords attempting to persuade them to reject the Stamp Act. They were unsuccessful; when the delegates returned to South Carolina after the Congress adjourned, they found the state in turmoil. The people had destroyed all the revenue stamps; when the Stamp Act went into effect on November 1, 1765, there were no stamps in the entire colony.
Dougal Campbell, the Charleston court clerk, refused to issue any papers without the stamps. Because of this, all legal processes in the entire state came to a standstill until news that the Stamp Act had been repealed reached South Carolina in early May 1766. After the Stamp Act conflict ended, Rutledge went back into private life, to his law practice. Besides serving in the colonial legislature, he did not involve himself in politics, his law practice continued to expand and he became wealthy as a result. In 1774, Rutledge was elected to the First Continental Congress, it is not known for certain what John Rutledge did in the Congress. The records of the Congress refer only to "Rutledge", though both John and his brother Edward Rutledge were present; the most important contribution made by "Rutledge" to the Congress was during the debate on how to apportion votes in the Congress. Some wanted votes to be apportioned by the population of the colonies. Others wanted to give each colony one vote. "Rutledge" observed that as the Congress h
John Jay was an American statesman, diplomat, one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and signatory of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, second Governor of New York, the first Chief Justice of the United States. He directed U. S. foreign policy for much of the 1780s and was an important leader of the Federalist Party after the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788. Jay was born into a wealthy family of merchants and New York City government officials of French and Dutch descent, he became a lawyer and joined the New York Committee of Correspondence, organizing opposition to British policies in the time preceding the American Revolution. Jay was elected to the Second Continental Congress, served as President of the Congress. From 1779 to 1782, Jay served as the ambassador to Spain, he served as a negotiator of the Treaty of Paris, in which Britain recognized American independence. Following the end of the war, Jay served as Secretary of Foreign Affairs, directing United States foreign policy under the Articles of Confederation government.
He served as the first Secretary of State on an interim basis. A proponent of strong, centralized government, Jay worked to ratify the United States Constitution in New York in 1788, he was a co-author of The Federalist Papers along with Alexander Hamilton and James Madison, wrote five of the 85 essays. After the establishment of the new federal government, Jay was appointed by President George Washington the first Chief Justice of the United States, serving from 1789 to 1795; the Jay Court experienced a light workload. In 1794, while serving as Chief Justice, Jay negotiated the controversial Jay Treaty with Britain. Jay received a handful of electoral votes in three of the first four presidential elections, but never undertook a serious bid for the presidency. Jay served as the Governor of New York from 1795 to 1801. Long an opponent of slavery, he helped enact a law that provided for the gradual emancipation of slaves, the institution of slavery was abolished in New York in Jay's lifetime. In the waning days of President John Adams's administration, Jay was confirmed by the Senate for another term as Chief Justice, but he declined the position and retired to his farm in Westchester County, New York.
The Jays were a prominent merchant family in New York City, descended from Huguenots who had come to New York to escape religious persecution in France. In 1685 the Edict of Nantes had been revoked, thereby abolishing the rights of Protestants and confiscating their property. Among those affected was Jay's paternal grandfather, Augustus Jay, he moved from France with his sister Saint Jay to the Virginia Colonies and New York, where he built a successful merchant empire. Jay's father, Peter Jay, born in New York City in 1704, became a wealthy trader in furs, wheat and other commodities. Jay's mother was Mary Van Cortlandt, in the Dutch Church, they had ten children together. Mary's father, Jacobus Van Cortlandt, had been born in New Amsterdam in 1658. Cortlandt served on the New York Assembly, was twice mayor of New York City, held a variety of judicial and military offices. Two of his children married into the Jay family. Jay was born on December 1745, in New York City. Jay spent his childhood in Rye.
He was educated there by his mother until he was eight years old, when he was sent to New Rochelle to study under Anglican priest Pierre Stoupe. In 1756, after three years, he would return to homeschooling in Rye under the tutelage of his mother and George Murray. In 1760, Jay attended King's College, now known as Columbia University, as an undergraduate, he entered college at the age of 14. During this time, Jay made many influential friends, including his closest, Robert Livingston, the son of a prominent New York aristocrat and Supreme Court justice. Jay took the same political stand as a staunch Whig. In 1764 he graduated from King's College and became a law clerk for Benjamin Kissam, a prominent lawyer and sought-after instructor in the law. In addition to Jay, Kissam's students included Lindley Murray. In 1768, after reading law and being admitted to the bar of New York, with the money from the government, established a legal practice and worked there until he created his own law office in 1771.
He was a member of the New York Committee of Correspondence in 1774 and became its secretary, his first public role in the revolution. Jay represented the conservative faction, interested in protecting property rights and in preserving the rule of law, while resisting what it regarded as British violations of American rights; this faction feared the prospect of "mob rule". He believed the British tax measures were wrong and thought Americans were morally and justified in resisting them, but as a delegate to the First Continental Congress in 1774, Jay sided with those who wanted conciliation with Parliament. Events such as the burning of Norfolk, Virginia, by British troops in January 1776 pushed Jay to support independence. With the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War, he worked tirelessly for the revolutionary cause and acted to suppress the Loyalists. Jay evolved into first a moderate, an ardent Patriot, because he had decided that all the colonies' efforts at reconciliation with Britain were fruitles
James Iredell was one of the first Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States. He was appointed by President George Washington and served from 1790 until his death in 1799, his son, James Iredell Jr. was a Governor of North Carolina. James Iredell was born in Lewes, the oldest of five surviving children of Francis Iredell, a Bristol merchant and his wife, the former Margaret MucCulloh of Ireland; the failure of his father's business impelled James to immigrate to the Colonies in 1767 at the age of 17. Relatives assisted him in obtaining a position in the customs service as deputy collector, or comptroller, of the port of Edenton, North Carolina. While working at the customs house, Iredell read law under Samuel Johnston, began the practice of law and was admitted to the bar in 1771; the grandson of a clergyman, he was a devout Anglican throughout his life and his writings display an interest in spirituality and metaphysics beyond a simple attachment to organized religion. In 1773, Iredell married Johnston's sister Hannah and the two had four children after twelve childless years.
In 1774 he was made collector for the port. Although employed by the British government, Iredell was a strong supporter of independence and the revolution. In 1774, he wrote To the Inhabitants of Great Britain where he laid out arguments opposing the concept of parliamentary supremacy over America; this essay established Iredell 23, as the most influential political essayist in North Carolina at that time. His treatise Principles of an American Whig predates and echoes themes and ideas of the Declaration of Independence. After the revolution began, Iredell helped organize the court system of North Carolina, was elected a judge of the superior court in 1778, his career advanced through a number of political and judicial posts in the state, including that of attorney general from 1779 to 1781. In 1787 the state assembly appointed him commissioner and charged him with compiling and revising the laws of North Carolina, his work was published in 1791 as Iredell's Revisal. Following the Revolution, financial limitations barred his being a delegate to the Philadelphia convention, he corresponded with the North Carolina delegates.
Iredell was a leader of the Federalists in North Carolina, a strong supporter of the proposed Constitution. In the 1788 convention at Hillsborough, he argued unsuccessfully in favor of its adoption. Iredell was the floor leader for the Federalists forces. After the convention failed to ratify the Constitution, he continued to promote it, joining William R. Davie, to publish the convention debates at their own expense for distribution across the state. On February 8, 1790, George Washington nominated James Iredell to the post of Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, on May 12, he was confirmed by the United States Senate, received his commission the same day. At the age of 38, Iredell was the youngest of the early Supreme Court Justices; the case load of the first Supreme Court was light. In fact, the court did not hear its first case until 1791 when it decided Barnes; the decision was unanimous, but Iredell requested that Congress change the harsh statute governing the West decision. The Justices gathered to hear arguments only twice a year, we have only a handful of opinions written by Justice Iredell in his years on the court.
Of those, two of the most significant are: Chisholm v. Georgia: At issue was whether the citizens of one state could sue another state for repayment of Revolutionary War bills. Iredell was the lone dissent from the majority opinion that held that a state may be sued in federal court without its consent to the suit. Calder v. Bull: At issue was whether an act of the Connecticut legislature violated the Constitution because it was an ex post facto law, forbidden pursuant to Article I, Section 9, Clause 3. In the Chisholm case and political opinion agreed with Iredell against the other Justices; the outcry and strong reaction of people against the Chisholm decision would lead to its reversal by the adoption of the Eleventh Amendment in 1795. In the unanimous decision in Calder, the Court held that the Clause applied to criminal cases only, deciding that the legislature's act was not unconstitutional. More Calder raised the question of whether "principles of natural justice" constituted law. Iredell's opinion indicated that only those actions of a state that explicitly violated a textual provision of the Constitution could be declared void.
He stated: "The principles of natural justice are regulated by no fixed standard. Justice Iredell's opinion in Calder helped establish the principle of judicial review five years before it was tested in Marbury v. Madison; the Supreme Court has followed Iredell's approach throughout its subsequent history. Iredell's charge to the federal grand jury in Fries' Case is cited as evidence that the framers' intent was to limit the scope of the First Amendment to freedom from prior restraint, he praised Sir William Blackstone's narrow interpretation of freedom of the press, noted that the framers were familiar with Blackstone's work, observed that "unless his explanation had been satisfactory, I presume the amendment would have b
Thomas Johnson (jurist)
Thomas Johnson was an 18th century American judge and politician. He participated in several ventures to support the Revolutionary War. Johnson was the first Governor of Maryland, a delegate to the Continental Congress, an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Johnson suffered from a myriad of health issues, he was the first person appointed to the Court after its original organization and staffing with six justices. Johnson's tenure on the Supreme Court lasted only 163 days, which makes him the shortest-serving Justice in U. S. history. Judge Johnson was born in Calvert County, Maryland, on November 4, 1732, to Thomas and Dorcas Sedgwick Johnson, his grandfather named Thomas, was a lawyer in London who had emigrated to Maryland sometime before 1700. He was the fourth of ten children, some of whom had large families, his niece, Louisa Johnson, married John Quincy Adams. The family, including Thomas, were educated at home; as a young man he was attracted to the law, studied it, was admitted to the Maryland bar in 1753.
By 1760, he had moved his practice to Frederick County, in 1761 he was elected to the Maryland provincial assembly for the first time. Johnson married Ann Jennings, the daughter of a judge from Annapolis on February 16, 1766. In 1774 and 1775 the Maryland assembly sent him as a delegate to the Continental Congress. In the Congress he was in the camp of those who favored separation from Great Britain. In November 1775, Congress created a Committee of Correspondence, to seek foreign support for the war. Thomas Johnson, along with Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Harrison V were named to the committee, he returned to Maryland and continued his work in the state's Assembly when the United States Declaration of Independence was signed. In 1775 he drafted the declaration of rights adopted by the Maryland assembly and included as the first part of the state's first constitution, adopted for Maryland by the state's constitutional convention at Annapolis in 1776, he served as brigadier general in the Maryland militia.
Thomas Johnson and his brothers supported the revolution by manufacturing ammunition and cannon. Their former factory, Catoctin Furnace, is now part of a state park near Camp David, just north of Frederick, Maryland; the state legislature elected Johnson as the new state's first Governor in 1777. He served in that capacity until 1779. In the 1780s he held a number of judicial posts in Maryland, as well as served in the assembly in 1780, 1786, 1787, he pushed a bill through the Maryland Assembly naming commissioners to meet with Virginia's commissioners to "…frame such liberal and equitable regulations concerning river as may be mutually advantageous to the two states and that they make report thereon to the General assembly." While not a commissioner himself, the resulting conference agreed to regulate and settle the jurisdiction and navigation on their mutual border, served as a predecessor to the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Johnson attended the Maryland Convention in 1788, where he urged the state's ratification of the United States Constitution.
In September 1789, President George Washington nominated Johnson to be the first federal judge for the District of Maryland, but he declined the appointment. In 1790 and 1791, Johnson was the senior justice in the Maryland General Court system. In January 1791, President Washington appointed Johnson, with David Stuart and Daniel Carroll, to the commission that would lay out the federal capital in accordance with the Residence Act of 1790. In September 1791 the commissioners named the federal city "The City of Washington" and the federal district "The Territory of Columbia". On August 5, 1791, Johnson received a recess appointment from Washington to the seat on the U. S. Supreme Court that became available after John Rutledge resigned. Formally nominated on October 31, 1791, Johnson was confirmed by the United States Senate on November 7, 1791. Though he received his commission that day, he was not sworn in until August 6, 1792. Johnson was the author of the Court's first written opinion, Georgia v. Brailsford, in 1792.
He served on the court until January 16, 1793, when he resigned, citing his poor health and the difficulties of circuit-riding. His tenure of 163 days is the shortest, to date, of any Justice. Johnson suffered poor health for many years, cited it in declining Washington's 1795 offer to nominate him for Secretary of State, as Thomas Jefferson had recommended, he managed to deliver a eulogy for his friend George Washington at a birthday memorial service on February 22, 1800. On February 28, 1801, President John Adams named Johnson chief judge for the District of Columbia when first constituting that body, his daughter Ann had married John Colin Grahame in 1788, in his years Johnson lived with them in a home they had built in Frederick, Maryland. The home, called Rose Hill Manor, open to the public. Governor Thomas Johnson High School is on half of the Rose Hill property, he died at Rose Hill on October 26, 1819, was buried in All Saints churchyard. His remains were re-interred at Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick.
Johnson was one of the first investors in the Illinois-Wabash Company, which acquired a vast swath of land in Illinois directly from several Indian tribes. Soon after his death in 1819 his son Joshua Johnson and grandson Thomas Graham sued William M'Intosh in the landmark Supreme Court case Johnson v. M'Intosh; the case, which remains one of the most important property decisions in American history, determined that only the federal government could acquire Indian land, so Johnson's desc
William Paterson (judge)
William Paterson was a New Jersey statesman and a signer of the United States Constitution. He was an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court and the second governor of New Jersey. Born in County Antrim, Paterson moved to the United States at a young age. After graduating from the College of New Jersey and studying law under Richard Stockton, he was admitted to the bar in 1768, he helped write the 1776 Constitution of New Jersey and served as the New Jersey Attorney General from 1776 to 1783. He represented New Jersey at the 1787 Philadelphia Convention, where he proposed the New Jersey Plan, which would have provided for equal representation among the states in Congress. After the ratification of the Constitution, Paterson served in the United States Senate from 1789 to 1790, helping to draft the Judiciary Act of 1789, he resigned from the Senate to take office as Governor of New Jersey. In 1793, he accepted appointment by President George Washington to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.
He served on the court until his death in 1806. William Paterson was born December 24, 1745, in County Antrim, now in Northern Ireland, to Richard Paterson. Paterson moved to. At 14, he began college at Princeton. After graduating, he studied law with the prominent lawyer Richard Stockton and was admitted to the bar in 1768, he stayed connected to his alma mater and helped found the Cliosophic Society with Aaron Burr. Paterson was selected as the Somerset County delegate for the first three provincial congresses of New Jersey, where, as secretary, he recorded the 1776 New Jersey State Constitution. After Independence, Paterson was appointed as the first Attorney General of New Jersey, serving from 1776 to 1783, maintaining law and order and establishing himself as one of the state's most prominent lawyers, he was sent to the 1787 Philadelphia Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he proposed the New Jersey Plan for a unicameral legislative body with equal representation from each state.
After the Great Compromise, the Constitution was signed. Paterson, a strong nationalist who supported the Federalist party, went on to become one of New Jersey's first U. S. senators. As a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, he played an important role in drafting the Judiciary Act of 1789 that established the federal court system; the first nine sections of this important law are in his handwriting. In 1790, he became the first person to resign from the U. S. Senate, when he did so in order to succeed fellow signer William Livingston as governor of New Jersey; as governor, Paterson pursued his interest in legal matters by codifying the English statutes, in force in New Jersey before the Revolution in Laws of the State of New Jersey. He published a revision of the rules of the chancery and common law courts in Paterson adopted by the New Jersey Legislature. President George Washington nominated Paterson for the Supreme Court of the United States on February 27, 1793, to the seat vacated by Thomas Johnson.
Washington withdrew the nomination the following day, having realized that since the Judiciary Act of 1789 had been passed during Paterson's current term as a Senator, the nomination was a violation of the Ineligibility Clause of the Constitution. Washington re-nominated Paterson to the Court on March 4, 1793, after his term as Senator had expired, he resigned the governorship to become an associate justice of the U. S. Supreme Court. On circuit he presided over the trials of individuals indicted for treason in the Whiskey Rebellion, a revolt by farmers in western Pennsylvania over the federal excise tax on whiskey, the principal product of their cash crop. Militia sent out by President Washington quelled the uprising, for the first time the courts had to interpret the provisions of the Constitution with regard to the use of troops in civil disturbances. Here, in fact throughout his long career, Paterson extolled the primacy of law over governments, a principle embodied in the Constitution he helped write.
He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1801. Paterson served on the Supreme Court until his death in 1806. In 1779, Paterson married to Cornelia Bell, daughter of John Bell, a wealthy Somerset County Landowner. Together, they had three children, but she died in 1783 shortly after giving birth to their only son: Cornelia Bell Paterson, who married Stephen Van Rensselaer after the death of his first wife, Margaret "Peggy" Schuyler Frances Van Paterson, who died young William Bell Paterson, who married Jane Eliza NeilsonIn 1785, he married Euphemia White, sister of Anthony Walton White, daughter of Anthony White, a New Jersey landholder and judge of the Somerset court, the granddaughter of Lewis Morris, Chief Justice of New York from 1715 to 1733 and Governor of New Jersey from 1738 to 1746. On September 9, 1806, aged 60, died from the lingering effects of a coach accident suffered in 1803 while on circuit court duty in New Jersey, he was on his way to the spa at Ballston Springs, New York, to "take the waters", when he died at the Van Rensselaer Manor home of his daughter and son-in-law, Stephen Van Rensselaer, in Albany, New York.
He was laid to rest in the Van Renssalaer family vault. When the city acquired th
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States. Established pursuant to Article III of the U. S. Constitution in 1789, it has original jurisdiction over a narrow range of cases, including suits between two or more states and those involving ambassadors, it has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all federal court and state court cases that involve a point of federal constitutional or statutory law. The Court has the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Constitution or an executive act for being unlawful. However, it may act only within the context of a case in an area of law over which it has jurisdiction; the court may decide cases having political overtones, but it has ruled that it does not have power to decide nonjusticiable political questions. Each year it agrees to hear about one hundred to one hundred fifty of the more than seven thousand cases that it is asked to review.
According to federal statute, the court consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, all of whom are nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Once appointed, justices have lifetime tenure unless they resign, retire, or are removed from office; each justice has a single vote in deciding. When the chief justice is in the majority, he decides. In modern discourse, justices are categorized as having conservative, moderate, or liberal philosophies of law and of judicial interpretation. While a far greater number of cases in recent history have been decided unanimously, decisions in cases of the highest profile have come down to just one single vote, exemplifying the justices' alignment according to these categories; the Court meets in the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D. C, its law enforcement arm is the Supreme Court of the United States Police. It was while debating the division of powers between the legislative and executive departments that delegates to the 1787 Constitutional Convention established the parameters for the national judiciary.
Creating a "third branch" of government was a novel idea. Early on, some delegates argued that national laws could be enforced by state courts, while others, including James Madison, advocated for a national judicial authority consisting of various tribunals chosen by the national legislature, it was proposed that the judiciary should have a role in checking the executive power to veto or revise laws. In the end, the Framers compromised by sketching only a general outline of the judiciary, vesting federal judicial power in "one supreme Court, in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish", they delineated neither the exact powers and prerogatives of the Supreme Court nor the organization of the Template:Judicial branch as a whole. The 1st United States Congress provided the detailed organization of a federal judiciary through the Judiciary Act of 1789; the Supreme Court, the country's highest judicial tribunal, was to sit in the nation's Capital and would be composed of a chief justice and five associate justices.
The act divided the country into judicial districts, which were in turn organized into circuits. Justices were required to "ride circuit" and hold circuit court twice a year in their assigned judicial district. After signing the act into law, President George Washington nominated the following people to serve on the court: John Jay for chief justice and John Rutledge, William Cushing, Robert H. Harrison, James Wilson, John Blair Jr. as associate justices. All six were confirmed by the Senate on September 26, 1789. Harrison, declined to serve. In his place, Washington nominated James Iredell; the Supreme Court held its inaugural session from February 2 through February 10, 1790, at the Royal Exchange in New York City the U. S. capital. A second session was held there in August 1790; the earliest sessions of the court were devoted to organizational proceedings, as the first cases did not reach it until 1791. When the national capital moved to Philadelphia in 1790, the Supreme Court did so as well.
After meeting at Independence Hall, the Court established its chambers at City Hall. Under Chief Justices Jay and Ellsworth, the Court heard few cases; as the Court had only six members, every decision that it made by a majority was made by two-thirds. However, Congress has always allowed less than the court's full membership to make decisions, starting with a quorum of four justices in 1789; the court lacked a home of its own and had little prestige, a situation not helped by the era's highest-profile case, Chisholm v. Georgia, reversed within two years by the adoption of the Eleventh Amendment; the court's power and prestige grew during the Marshall Court. Under Marshall, the court established the power of judicial review over acts of Congress, including specifying itself as the supreme expositor of the Constitution and making several important constitutional rulings that gave shape and substance to the balance of power between the federal government and states; the Marshall Court ended the practice of each justice issuin