Friday, September 24, 2010

September 24 in History: The Judiciary Act of 1789

On September 24, 1789, President George Washington signed into law the first Judiciary Act under the newly ratified Constitution. The Judiciary Act of 1789 filled out the judicial branch of government, which had been established (but not composed) by Article III of the U.S. Constitution. This first Judiciary Act established the structure and jurisdiction of the federal court system and created the position of attorney general.

Upon signing the statute, President Washington nominated John Jay to be the first Chief Justice of the United States and named John Rutledge, William Cushing, John Blair, Robert Harrison, and James Wilson to be associate justices. Edmund Randolph became the nation's first attorney general.

For more on this important landmark in U.S. judicial history, visit the Library of Congress "Primary Documents of American History" section on the Judiciary Act of 1789.

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