Page:United States Statutes at Large Volume 1.djvu/195

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Statute Ⅰ.


Sept. 24, 1789.
Chap. ⅩⅩ.—An Act to establish the Judicial Courts of the United States.[1]


Section 1. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, ThatSupreme court to consist of a chief justice, and five associates. the supreme court of the United States shall consist of a chief justice and five associate justices,[2] any four of whom shall be a quorum, and shall hold annually at the seat of government two sessions, the one commencing the first Monday of February,Two sessions annually. and the other the first Monday of August. That the associate justices shall have precedence according to the date of their commissions,Precedence. or when the commissions of two or more of them bear date on the same day, according to their respective ages.

Sec. 2. And be it further enacted,Thirteen districts. That the United States shall be, and they hereby are divided into thirteen districts, to be limited and called as follows, to wit: one to consist of that part of the State of Massachusetts which lies easterly of the State of New Hampshire, and to be called Maine District;Maine. one to consist of the State of New Hampshire, and to be called New Hampshire District;N. Hampshire.[3] one to consist of the remaining part of the State of Massachusetts, and to be called Massachusetts district;Massachusetts. one to consist of the State of Connecticut, and to be called Connecticut District;Connecticut. one to consist of the State of New York, and to be called New York District;New York. one to consist of the State of New Jersey, and to be called New Jersey District;New Jersey. one to consist of the State of Pennsylvania, and to be called Pennsylvania District;Pennsylvania. one to consist of the State of Delaware, and to be called Delaware District;Delaware. one to consist of the State of Maryland, and to be called Maryland District;Maryland. one to consist of the State of Virginia, except that part called the District of Kentucky, and to be called Virginia District;Virginia. one to consist of the remaining part of the State of Virginia, and to be called Kentucky District;Kentucky. one to consist of the State of South Carolina, and to be called South Carolina District;South Carolina. and one to consist of the State of Georgia, and to be called Georgia District.Georgia.

Sec. 3. And be it further enacted, A district court in each district.That there be a court called a District Court, in each of the afore mentioned districts, to consist of one judge, who shall reside in the district for which he is appointed, and shall be called a District Judge, and shall hold annually four


  1. The 3d article of the Constitution of the United States enables the judicial department to receive jurisdiction to the full extent of the constitution, laws and treaties of the United States, when any question respecting them shall assume such a form that the judicial power is capable of acting on it. That power is capable of acting only where the subject is submitted to it by a party who asserts his right in a form presented by law. It then becomes a case. Osborn et al. v. The Bank of the United States, 9 Wheat. 738; 5 Cond. Rep. 741.
  2. By the act of April 29, 1802, chap. 31, the Supreme Court was declared to consist of a Chief Justice and six associate Justices, and by the act of March 3, 1837, chap. 32, it was made to consist of a Chief Justice and eight associate Justices.

    By the act of April 29, 1802, chap. 31, the provision of the act of September 24, 1789, requiring two annual sessions of the Supreme Court, was repealed, and the 2d section of that act required that the associate Justice of the fourth circuit should attend at Washington on the first Monday of August annually, to make all necessary rules and orders, touching suits and actions depending in the court. This section was repealed by the 7th section of the act of February 28, 1839, chap. 36.

    By an act passed May 4, 1826, chap. 37, the sessions of the Supreme Court were directed to commence on the second Monday in January annually, instead of the first Monday in February; and by an act passed June 17, 1844, the sessions of the Supreme Court were directed to commence on the first Monday in December annually.

  3. The jurisdiction and powers of the District Courts have been declared and established by the following acts of Congress: Act of September 24, 1789; act of June 5, 1794, sec. 6; act of May 10, 1800; act of December 31, 1814; act of April 16, 1816; act of April 20, 1818; act of May 15, 1820; act of March 3, 1793.

    The decisions of the Courts of the United States on the jurisdiction of the District Courts have been: The Thomas Jefferson, 10 Wheat. 428; 6 Cond. Rep. 73. McDonough v. Danery, 3 Dall. 188; 1 Cond. Rep. 94. United States v. La Vengeance, 3 Dall. 297; 1 Cond. Rep. 132. Glass et al. v. The Betsey, 3 Dall. 6; 1 Cond. Rep. 10. The Alerta v. Blas Moran, 9 Cranch, 359; 3 Cond. Rep. 425. The Merino et al., 9 Wheat. 391; 5 Cond. Rep. 623. The Josefa Segunda, 10 Wheat. 312; 6 Cond. Rep. 111. The Bolina, 1 Gallis’ C. C. R. 75. The Robert Fulton, Paine’s C. C. R. 620. Jansen v. The Vrow Christiana Magdalena, Bee’s D. C. R. 11. Jennings v. Carson, 4 Cranch, 2; 2 Cond. Rep. 2. The Sarah, 8 Wheat. 391; 5 Cond. Rep. 472. Penhallow et al. v. Doane’s Adm’rs, 3 Dall. 54; 1 Cond. Rep. 21. The United States v. Richard Peters, 3 Dall. 121; 1 Cond. Rep. 60. M‘Lellan v. the United States,