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History of the United States Supreme Court

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The United States Supreme Court was established by the United States Constitution when they instituted the Judiciary Act of 1789. The first time the Supreme Court assembled was on Feb. 1, 1790. The assembly took place in the Merchants Exchange Building located in New York City. At that time, New York City was the Nation’s capital.

Unfortunately, Chief Justice John Jay had to postpone the initial meeting of the Court one day. This was due to several of the Justices having transportation issues. In the first couple of years, the Supreme Court worked on organizational proceedings. On August 3, 1791, the Justices handed down their first decision on the case of West versus Barnes.

The President appoints people to be members of the Supreme Court. These people are the ones who ensure the Judiciary system and judges are protected from partisan pressures. The Constitution states that all the Supreme Justices are able to serve for life. The Constitution also gives them further independence by ensuring that their salaries may never be changed during their entire term.

Justices generally serve an average of 16 years. The number of justices has changed since President George Washington originally appointed six. The number is now nine Justices serving in the Supreme Court.

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