Today, September 24, 1789: Supreme Court Established

On September 17, 1787, the Second Continental Congress approved of the draft of the US Constitution. They realized that the Articles of Confederation at the time were insufficient to run the new nation.

On June 21, 1788, the Constitution was ratified and became the law of the new United States of America, replacing the Articles of Confederation.

Article III of the Constitution spelled out the role of a third branch of government, the Judicial branch:

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Article III.

Section. 1.

The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

Section. 2.

The judicial Power shall extend to all Cases, in Law and Equity, arising under this Constitution, the Laws of the United States, and Treaties made, or which shall be made, under their Authority;–to all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls;–to all Cases of admiralty and maritime Jurisdiction;–to Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party;–to Controversies between two or more States;– between a State and Citizens of another State,–between Citizens of different States,–between Citizens of the same State claiming Lands under Grants of different States, and between a State, or the Citizens thereof, and foreign States, Citizens or Subjects.

In all Cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, and those in which a State shall be Party, the supreme Court shall have original Jurisdiction. In all the other Cases before mentioned, the supreme Court shall have appellate Jurisdiction, both as to Law and Fact, with such Exceptions, and under such Regulations as the Congress shall make.

The Trial of all Crimes, except in Cases of Impeachment, shall be by Jury; and such Trial shall be held in the State where the said Crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the Trial shall be at such Place or Places as the Congress may by Law have directed.

Section. 3.

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.

The Congress shall have Power to declare the Punishment of Treason, but no Attainder of Treason shall work Corruption of Blood, or Forfeiture except during the Life of the Person attainted.

Even though Article III laid down the framework for the Judiciary branch of government, it failed to provide many of the necessary details to establish and govern the new federal government. [NOTE – the Framers intended the Judiciary to be the lesser and weaker of the three branches of government. They did not intend for it to become the absolute rule over the nation and people that it has become today. It was never intended to allow 1 to 3 judges to overrule the legal laws voted on by the people, based upon their personal agendas rather than on the rule of law or Constitution.]

On this day, September 24, 1789, President George Washington signed into law The Judiciary Act of 1789 or more formally, ‘An Act to Establish the Judicial Courts of the United States.’ Per the Constitution, Congress established a number of lower federal courts which were spelled out in the Judiciary Act.

On September 26, 1789, Washington appointed US Secretary of Foreign Affairs, John Jay, to be the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Washington also appointed Jay to serve as acting Secretary of State at the same time.

Opposite from the godless philosophy of today’s Supreme Court, Chief Justice John Jay once stated:

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” [Henry Johnston, Ed. The Correspondence and Public Papers of John Jay, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, New York, 1893, Vol. IV (1794-1826), p. 393.]

On June 29, 1795, Jay resigned from the Supreme Court. Jay understood that nowhere in the Constitution or the Judiciary Act did anything state that the term of a Supreme Court Justice or federal judge is for life. In fact, the only thing about term of office is found in Section 1 of Article III of the US Constitution which reads:

“The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.”

It’s time Americans begin demanding that the Constitution be upheld and that all Justices of the Supreme Court and other federal judges be removed from the bench for ruling on personal agenda instead of the Constitution and rule of law.

From July 1, 1795 to June 30, 1801, Jay served as the second Governor of the State of New York.

The Judiciary Act of 1789 remained relatively unchanged for a number of decades. However, as the nation expanded westward and grew in population, a number of amendments revising it were passed by various Congresses.


Sources for the above includes: Constitution of the United States of America; The Judiciary Act of 1789; Judiciary Act of 1789; Federal Judiciary Act (1789); Landmark Judicial Legislation; The First Supreme Court; Judiciary Act of 1789; Anniversary of the Federal Court System; John Jay Biography; John Jay;



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