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OF THE ORGANIZATION AND JURISDICTION OF THE COURTS OF THE UNITED STATES.
OF THE JUDICIAL POWER OF THE UNITED STATES.
The scope of the judicial power of the United States is defined by the constitution; which also ordains that this power "shall be vested in one supreme court, and in such inferior courts as the congress may, from time to time, ordain and establish." In the language of the constitution, it extends —
1. To all cases in law and equity, arising under this constitution:
2. To all cases arising under the laws of the United States:
3. To all cases arising under treaties made or to be made under the authority of the United States:
4. To all cases affecting ambassadors, other public ministers and consuls:
5. To all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction:
6. To controversies to which the United States shall be a party:
7. To controversies between two or more states:
8. To controversies between a state and citizens of
9. To controversies between citizens of different states:
10. To controversies between citizens of the same state, claiming lands under grants of different states: and,
11. To controversies between a state or the citizens thereof and foreign states, citizens and subjects.1
1 Const. U. S., Art. 3, Sec. 2. The following brief, but discriminating exposition by Chief Justice JAY, in the case of Chisholm v. The State of Georgia (2 Dallas, 419, 475), of the policy which dictated the grant of jurisdiction over these several cases (except the 9th, which seems to have been accidentally omitted) it is presumed will not be uninteresting to the reader.
"1st. To all cases arising under this constitution; because the meaning, construction and operation of a compact ought always to be ascertained by all the parties, not by authority derived only from one of them. 2d. To all cases arising under the laws of the United States; because as such laws constitutionally made, are obligatory on each state, the measure of obligation and obedience ought not to be decided and fixed by the party from whom they are due, but by a tribunal deriving authority from both the parties. 3d. To all cases arising under treaties made by their authority; because as treaties are compacts made by, and obligatory on the whole nation their operation ought not to be affected or regulated by the local laws or courts of a part of the nation. 4th. To all cases affecting ambassadors or other public ministers and consuls; because, as these are officers of foreign nations, whom this nation are bound to protect and treat according to the law of nations, cases affecting them ought only to be cognizable by national authority. 5th. To all cases of admiralty or maritime jurisdiction; because, as the seas are the joint property of nations, whose rights and privileges relative thereto, are regulated by the law of nations and treaties, such cases necessarily belong to national jurisdiction. 6th. To controversies to which the United States shall be a party; because, in cases in which the whole people are interested, it would not be equal or wise to let any one state decide and measure out the justice due to others. 7th. To controversies between two or more states; because domestic tranquillity requires that the contentions of states should be peaceably terminated by a common judicatory; and, because, in a free country, justice ought not to depend on the will of either of the litigants. 8th. To controversies between a state and citizens of another state; because, in case a state (that is, all the citizens of it) has demands against citizens of another state, it is better that she should prosecute her demands in a national
The constitution proceeds one step further, and, as CHAP. 1. we shall see in the third chapter, fixes the boundary between the original, and, "with such exceptions and under such regulations as congress shall make," the appellate jurisdiction of the supreme court.
Upon this footing, with the exception of certain summary injunctions relative to the prosecution of public offenders, trial by jury, and bail, which will be duly noticed in the sequel, the subject is left by the constitution. In what other courts the residue of the judicial power should be vested, and to what extent, and subject to what regulations, the supreme court should be clothed with appellate power, was submitted to the discretion of the legislative branch of the government.
At the first session of congress an act was accordingly passed "to establish the judicial courts of the United States." The additional courts established by it are the circuit and district courts. This act
court, than in a court of the state to which those citizens belong; the danger of irritation and criminations arising from apprehensions and suspicions of partiality being thereby obviated. Because, in cases where some citizens of one sta te have demands against all the citizens of another state, the cause of liberty and the rights of men forbid, that the latter should be the sole jud ges of the justice due to the former; and true republican government requires that free and equal citizens, should have free, fair, and equal justice. 9th. To controversies between citizens of the same state claiming lands under grants of different states; because as the rights of the two states to grant the land, are drawn into question, neither of the two states ought to decide the controversy. 10th. To controversies between a state or the citizens thereof; and foreign states, citizens or subjects; because, as every nation is responsible for the conduct of its citizens toward other nations, all questions touching the justice due to foreign nations or people, ought to be ascertained by, and depend on, national authority.
"Even this cursory view of the judicial power of the United States," (adds the Chief Justice,) “leaves the mind strongly impressed with the importance of them to the preservation of the tranquillity, the equal sovereignty, and equal right of the people."
PART 1. familiarly known as the JUDICIARY [or JUDICIAL] ACT, though modified in some respects by the eleventh amendment of the constitution, and by subsequent legislation; and, in a few particulars declared invalid for want of constitutionality-still constitutes the legislative basis of the JUDICIAL SYSTEM of the United States.
But by the 11th amendment to the constitution it is declared with regard to the 8th specification above stated, that the judicial power of the United States shall not be construed to extend to any suit in law or equity commenced or prosecuted against one of the United States by citizens of another state, or by citizens or subjects of any foreign state. It will be perceived therefore, that the capacity of the federal courts to take cognizance of legal controversies depends upon the subject matter of the controversy, and upon the character of the parties: that is, their jurisdiction extends to certain classes of cases, whoever may be parties,-and to controversies between certain descriptions of parties, whatever may be the nature of the controversy. In other words, if the case arises under the constitution, &c., or if it is of admiralty or maritime jurisdiction, it matters not who may be the parties; and if, on the other hand, the controversy is one affecting ambassadors, &c., or if the United States are plaintiffs, or if it is between citizens of different states, &c., it matters not what may be the nature of the controversy.
'This amendment was adopted in consequence of the decision in the case mentioned in the last preceding note, by which a state was held to be suable by a citizen of another state.
OF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE SUPREME COURT.
1. The Judges and Officers of the Court. Judges.] The supreme court consists at present of a chief justice and nine associate justices.'
They are appointed by the president, by and with the advice and consent of the senate. Const., art. 2, sec. 2.
In order to secure, in the most effectual manner, the independence and integrity of the judiciary, it is provided by the constitution (art. 3, sec. 1), that "the judges both of the supreme and inferior courts shall hold their offices during good behavior;" and that they "shall at stated times receive for their services a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office." But they may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. Art. 2, sec. 4.
The judges, in addition to the oath or affirmation to support the constitution of the United States, are required, before they proceed to execute the duties of their offices, to take an oath or affirmation that they will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and rich, and that they will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon them as such judges, according to the best of their abilities and understanding, agreeably to the constitution and laws of the United States.2
1Act of congress, March 3, 1863, chap. 100, § 1: 12 Stat. at Large, 794. The court, as originally constituted, consisted of a chief justice and five associate justices.
Act of Sept. 24, 1789, ch. 20, § 8: 1 Stat. at Large, p. 76.