United States Circuit Court for the First Circuit (1801-1802)
Inception in 1801
The United States Circuit Court for the First Circuit was created, along with the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Circuit Courts, by the Judiciary Act of 1801. Prior to this act, America's intermediate appeals courts did not have their own judges; rather, each appeal was reviewed by a three-judge panel composed of two judges from the Supreme Court and the district court judge who had issued the decision being appealed. There were as many of these courts as district courts, and they were named from the name of the judicial district. As an example, the United States Circuit Court for the District of Virginia was three-judge panel composed of one judge from the United States District Court for the District of Virginia and one from the Supreme Court. The Judiciary Act of 1801 divided the country into 6 distinct judicial circuits, each of which contained two-three judicial districts, to hear appeals from those district. It also provided for three new judges to be appointed for each of these courts, with one exception: the sixth circuit would only get one new judge, and the rest of that bench would be filled by the judges of the Tennessee and Kentucky district courts.,
Abolition in 1802
A new Congressional majority in 1802 repealed the Judiciary Act of 1801 merely 13 months after its passage, thereby restoring the system in place before that act, except for some modifications to address some of the complaints made by supporters of the Judiciary Act of 1801. For example, under the Judiciary Act of 1802, the district judge was enabled to rule (on cases where the circuit court had original jurisdiction) even in the absence of a Supreme Court judge. This modification was made primarily to lighten the heavy burden imposed on Supreme Court Justices by the necessity of so much travel.
Judges of the Court