Video:History of the Supreme Courtwith Robert Longley
The Supreme Court is the highest court in the United States and was created by the Judiciary Act of 1789. Here are more facts about the history of the Supreme Court.See Transcript
Transcript:History of the Supreme CourtThe very first bill introduced in the United States Senate was the Judiciary Act of 1789. It divided the country in 13 judicial districts, which were further organized into the eastern, middle, and southern "circuits."
The Supreme Court Was Founded in the Judiciary Act of 1789The 1789 Act called for the Supreme Court to consist of a Chief Justice and only five Associate Justices, and for the Court to meet, or "sit" in the nation's capital. For the first 101 years of its service, Supreme Court Justices were required to "ride circuit," holding court twice a year in each of the 13 judicial districts.
The Act also created the position of U.S. Attorney General and assigned the power to nominate Supreme Court justices to the President of the United States with the approval of the Senate.
Highlights of the First Session of the Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court was first called to assemble on Feb. 1, 1790, in the Merchants Exchange Building in New York City. Due to transportation problems, the first Chief Justice John Jay had to postpone the first actual meeting of the Supreme Court until the next day, Feb. 2, 1790.
The Supreme Court spent its first session organizing itself and determining its own powers and duties. The new Justices heard and decided their first actual case in 1792.
Before settling at nine in 1869, the number of Supreme Court Justices changed six times. In its entire history, the Supreme Court has had only 16 Chief Justices, and over 100 Associate Justices.
Today's Version of the Supreme CourtIn today's scenario, Supreme Court Justices are nominated by the President of the United States. The nomination must be approved by a majority vote of the Senate. The Justices serve until they either retire, die or are impeached.
The average tenure for Justices is about 15 years, with a new Justice being appointed to the Court about every 22 months. Presidents appointing the most Supreme Court Justices include George Washington, with ten appointments and Franklin D. Roosevelt, who appointed eight Justices.
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