Friday, September 24, 2010

Happy Birthday, Federal Court System

On September 24, 1789, President George Washington signed into law the Federal Judiciary Act, which created the three-tiered federal court system that exists today. The Supreme court, of course, had been established by Article 3, Section 1 of the Constitution:

The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.

The Judiciary Act also established the jurisdiction of the lower courts and reiterated the original jurisdiction granted the Supreme Court in the Constitution's Article 3, Section 2. That first federal court system consisted of the Supreme court, three appellate courts, and 13 district courts. Today, there are 13 courts of appeals and 94 district courts!

No comments: