Judiciary Act of 1789
The Judiciary Act of 1789 established a United States Supreme Court of six judges, provided 13 district courts and 3 circuit courts. In addition, it established the Supreme Court as the mediator of all disputes between states and the federal government concerning conflicting state and federal laws.
A clause granting the Supreme Court the right to issue writs of mandamus was declared unconstitutional by Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137 (1803), one of the seminal cases in American law. Thus the Judiciary Act of 1789 was the first act by Congress to be partially invalidated by the Supreme Court.
The Judiciary Act of 1789 included the Alien Tort Statute, 28 U.S.C. Sec. 1350, which provides jurisdiction by United States District Courts for tort claims by aliens for torts in violation of law of nations or treaties of the United States.
Judiciary Act of 1801
Not long before Thomas Jefferson, who was an anti-federalist, took office, Congress, in cooperation with President John Adams, a federalist, passed the Judiciary Act of 1801. This act's purpose was to limit the number of judges that Jefferson could appoint after taking office. Adams wanted the judges that he appointed to hold their positions for life. At the end of Adams's term, he quickly appointed new judges, known as the Midnight Judges, to fill the new judicial posts created under the act.
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