President Ulysses S. Grant and the Court Packing Controversy of 1870

Grant was accused with packing the court, the same charge later leveled against FDR in 1937. Introduction On April 10, 1869, Congress passed an act to amend the judicial system in part by increasing the number of Supreme Court justices to nine, to take effect the first Monday in December of that year. That act,[…]

The Chief Justice Who Elevated the Supreme Court into a Co-Equal Branch of Government

Before John Marshall, the Supreme Court had been a constitutional afterthought. No one in the founding generation left a more lasting imprint on American government and law than Chief Justice John Marshall. We remember Washington’s leadership, Jefferson’s eloquence, and Franklin’s wit, but Marshall breathed life into the Constitution, elevated the judiciary, and defended the federal[…]

An Overview of the Federal Court System and Judicial Process in the United States

Courts in the federal system work differently in many ways than state courts. Introduction Overview The federal court system has three main levels: district courts (the trial court), circuit courts which are the first level of appeal, and the Supreme Court of the United States, the final level of appeal in the federal system. There[…]