Federal Judge Ping Pong

As soon as the Democratic-Republicans took control of the House and Senate, they repealed the Judiciary Act of 1801 before passing the Judiciary Act of 1802. It restored the size of the Supreme Court to six. It also restructured/reduced the number of judicial districts to six and assigned one Supreme Court Justice to each district.

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The Midnight Judges Act

The Judiciary Act of 1789 laid the foundation of our judicial system by creating a hierarchy of Federal courts and judicial districts. This created a list of vacancies that the Adams administration was constitutionally required to fill.

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The Judiciary Act of 1789

The act’s origins are in Article III (Judiciary), Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution which states that the judicial power of the United States shall be vested in the Supreme Court and such inferior courts Congress saw fit to ordain and establish.

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Creating the Mighty 11th Amendment

At the same time the lawsuit was winding its way through the court system, Congress passed the Judicial Act of 1789. The provision that is relevant to this story is that the Judicial Act of 1789 specifically allows a citizen (or legal entity) in one state to sue a citizen or legal entity in another state.

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America’s Most Contentious Election

The year was 1800 and Thomas Jefferson from Virginia and Aaron Burr from New York campaigned against John Adams from Massachusetts and Charles Pickney from South Carolina. Democratic-Republicans faced off against the Federalists. Northerners were pitted against Southerners. Former allies during a long war that led to independence were now at each other’s throats.

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Jefferson’s Constitutional Gamble

Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 gives the President the power to negotiate treaties and the Senate the duty to ratify them. The power to purchase land from a foreign nation is not listed amongst the presidential powers.

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The 1807 Tale of Ograbme

Jefferson sent James Monroe and Thomas Pinkney to England to negotiate a treaty that would resolve our differences. In December 1806, the pair brought back a proposed treaty that did not include an agreement by England to end impressment. Jefferson refused to send the document to Congress for ratification in January 1807 so the treaty died.

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The Laundry List of Section 8

Section 8 is the longest in the Constitution and has 18 clauses that gives the House of Representatives the most power in the Federal government. What is amazing is that most of the clauses are only a single short sentence long.

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