Judiciary Act of 1789
Judiciary Act of 1789
Article III of the Constitution of the United States established the Supreme Court but left open to Congress the ability to create lower courts. During the first session of Congress in April 1789, just one day after the Senate had achieved a quorum, the first Senate went about addressing this and appointed a committee to draft S. 1, the first piece of legislation ever proposed in the upper house of Congress.
What became known as the Judiciary Act of 1789 established the multi-tiered federal court system we know today. In addition, it set the number of Supreme Court Justices at six and created the office of the Attorney General to argue on behalf of the United States in cases before the Supreme Court.
On September 24, 1789 the Judiciary Act was signed into law by President George Washington. That same day, he appointed the first Supreme Court Chief and Associate Justices and lower court judges.
Though there have been many adjustments and revisions to this initial law, the justice system we have in America today still follows the basic structure set up by this, the first bill ever introduced into the United States Senate.
Past Featured Records
Thursday, April 1, 2021 – Thursday, June 17, 2021
“— were dead. Figures are omitted [because] NO ONE KNOWS.” —Red Cross Report
On Memorial Day 1921, a Black shoe shiner named Dick Rowland rode in an elevator with white operator Sarah Page. The next day,... Read more
World War II, the bloodiest conflict in history, came to an end in a 27-minute ceremony on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, six years and one day after the war erupted in Europe. On that September morning in 1945, Japanese officials signed a... Read more
To celebrate National Inventors’ Day, learn about Marjorie S. Joyner and her groundbreaking permanent wave machine, an innovation that revolutionized the time-intensive task of curling or straightening women’s hair. Over her 50-year career, Joyner trained thousands of students and helped write the first cosmetology laws in... Read more
Seventy-five years ago on January 27, 1945, Soviet forces liberated the Auschwitz concentration camp complex in German-occupied Poland. Russian soldiers discovered thousands of sick, dying, and dead prisoners when they entered the complex of concentration camps, forced labor camps, and a killing center abandoned by the... Read more
To mark the 50th anniversary of the end of Project Blue Book, the National Archives will display records from the Air Force’s unidentified flying objects (UFOs) investigations.
Report of a “flying saucer” over U.S. airspace in 1947 caused a wave of “UFO hysteria” and sparked... Read more