The first three Articles of
the United States Constitution set up the Legislative, Executive, and Judicial
Branches of Government
that comprise the structure of the United States governing body. Article III of
the Constitution deals specifically with the Judicial Branch of the United
States, providing for the general architecture of the judicial system.
Section 1 of Article III states that there should be a
sole high court, the Supreme Court, that shall have the vested judicial powers
of the United States. However, it also provides for
inferior courts to help with the function of the judicial system and to allow
for a better structure to delegate judicial power.
It is of worthy note that the Constitution does not
actually provide for an established number of judges to hold office in the
Supreme Court. Article III only requires that there be only one Federal
court. However, the number of Supreme Court Justices
would be established later through additional statutes,
setting the number at nine. There is one Chief Justice and
eight Associate Justices
appointed to the Supreme Court.
Federal Judiciary Act of 1789:
The Federal Judiciary Act of 1789 was the landmark
statute that was introduced in the first session of the United State Congress. The
Judiciary Act established the Unites States Federal Judicial Branch. Article
III of the United States Constitution states that one Supreme Court is to be
vested with the nation’s judicial powers. Initially, this provision was met
with dispute and opposition, for many feared that establishing all judicial
powers into a single court would leave the door wide open for tyranny. Many of
the opponents suggested that the Supreme Court powers be delegated among local
courts as well. However, Congress would establish the Supreme Court with the
intentions of having broader jurisdiction of the Federal power, which would
allow for enforcement of national laws at the State level.
would give the Supreme Court jurisdiction over all civil matters between
states, the states and the United States, and over matters dealing with
ambassadors and diplomatic officials. The Act would also state that there would
be six Supreme Court Justices, one being a Chief Justice and the other five
being Associate Justices.
The Judiciary Act would also create both the Office of Attorney General
and the United States Marshal’s Service that would serve each individual
judicial district also created by the Act. These judicial districts were
created in each of the eleven states that ratified the Constitution. Each State
would have one district, with the exception of Massachusetts and Virginia, each
of which would have two. The Judiciary Act of 1789 would also allow for the
power of the Supreme Court to issue writs of mandamus, but this would later be
declared unconstitutional in the landmark case of Marbury v. Madison.