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Who were the original federal district court judges in these thirteen districts?

The thirteen original federal district court judges were:

• Richard Law (District of Connecticut)

• David Sewall (District of Maine)

• John Lowell (District of Massachusetts)

• John Sullivan (District of New Hampshire)

• James Duane (District of New York)

• Gunning Bedford (District of Delaware)

• Harry Innes (District of Kentucky)

• William Paca (District of Maryland)

• David Brearley (District of New Jersey)

• Francis Hopkinson (District of Pennsylvania)

• Cyrus Griffin (District of Virginia)

• Nathaniel Pendleton (District of Georgia)

• William Drayton (District of South Carolina)

What three additional federal district courts were created within two years of the Judiciary Act of 1789?

Congress added federal district courts in the states of North Carolina, Rhode Island, and Vermont. President George Washington nominated John Stokes for the District of North Carolina; Harry Marchant for the District of Rhode Island; and Nathaniel Chip-man for the District of Vermont.

What part of the Judiciary Act of 1789 gives the Supreme Court the power to review state laws?

Section 25 of the Judiciary Act of 1789 provides that the U.S. Supreme Court can review state laws to determine whether they comport with the Constitution. The section reads that where "the validity of a state law is questioned on the ground of being repugnant to the constitution, treaties or laws of the United States," the U.S. Supreme Court has jurisdiction. This section originally caused great controversy, as many believed that the rights of the states were being invaded by the federal government and its courts. Section 25 reads:

And be it further enacted, That a final judgment or decree in any suit, in the highest court of law or equity of a State in which a decision in the suit could be had, where is drawn in question the validity of a treaty or statute of, or an authority exercised under the United States, and the decision is against their validity; or where is drawn in question the validity of a statute of, or an authority exercised under any State, on the ground of their being repugnant to the constitution, treaties or laws of the United States, and the decision is in favor of such their validity, or where is drawn in question the construction of any clause of the constitution, or of a treaty, or statute of, or commission held under the United States, and the decision is against the title, right, privilege or exemption specially set up or claimed by either party, under such clause of the said Constitution, treaty, statute or commission, may be re-examined and reversed or affirmed in the Supreme Court of the United States upon a writ of error.

What was circuit duty?

The Judiciary Act of 1789 created 13 lower federal courts called district courts. These district courts were divided into three circuits: the Eastern, the Middle, and the Southern. The circuit courts were composed of a district court judge and two justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. "Circuit duty" or "riding circuit" meant that U.S. Supreme Court justices had to travel across the country to hear cases across the country. An early U.S. Supreme Court justice, Thomas Johnson of Maryland, resigned after a little more than a year because of the difficulties caused by traveling to different circuit courts. In 1793, Congress passed a law that required circuit courts to consist of only one U.S. Supreme Court justice. Supreme Court justices rode circuit until 1891.

When did Congress create separate judges for the circuit courts?

Congress established 16 judgeships in six circuit courts in the Judiciary Act of 1801. The first five circuits would receive three judges each, while a single judge would preside over the Sixth Circuit. The outgoing administration of Federalist president John Adams wanted to strengthen the federal judicial system, particularly before the Demo

The U.S. Circuit Court judges gather for a photo at a conference, accompanied by then-U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Howard Taft (fourth from right) in an undated 1920s photo (Library of Congress).

The U.S. Circuit Court judges gather for a photo at a conference, accompanied by then-U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Howard Taft (fourth from right) in an undated 1920s photo (Library of Congress).

cratic-Republican administration of incoming president Thomas Jefferson and a new Congress dominated by Jefferson's party took office. The Democratic-Republicans repealed the Judiciary Act of 1801 in the Judiciary Act of 1802. This new law kept the structure of the six circuits but abolished the separate judgeships.

 
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