History of the Federal Judiciary


History of the Federal Judiciary


  U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Virginia and the District of Potomac
Legislative History
September 24, 1789
1 Stat. 73
The Judiciary Act of 1789 organized Virginia as one judicial district, authorized one judgeship for the U.S. district court, and assigned the district to the Middle Circuit.
February 13, 1801
2 Stat. 89
The Judiciary Act of 1801 divided Virginia into three judicial districts: the District of Virginia, which included the counties west of the Tidewater and south of the Rappahannock River; the District of Norfolk, which included the Tidewater counties south of the Rappahannock; and the District of Potomac, which included the counties north and east of the Rappahannock as well as Maryland counties along the Potomac. The district judge of Virginia was to preside in the District of Virginia and the District of Norfolk, while the district judge of Maryland was to preside in court of the District of Potomac at Alexandria, Virginia. The act also established six circuits and assigned the districts of Virginia to the Fourth Circuit.
March 8, 1802
2 Stat. 132
Repeal of  the Judiciary Act of 1801 restored Virginia as a single judicial district, effective July 1, 1802.
April 29, 1802
2 Stat. 156
In the Judiciary Act of 1802 Congress again organized the federal judiciary into six circuits and assigned the District of Virginia to the Fifth Circuit.
February 4, 1819
3 Stat. 478
This act divided Virginia into two judicial districts, the Eastern and the Western, with one judgeship authorized for each. Congress granted the U.S. District Court in the Western District of Virginia the jurisdiction of a U.S. circuit court, except in appeals and writs of error, which were the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court.
March 3, 1837
5 Stat. 176
This act repealed the circuit court jurisdiction of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia and established a U.S. circuit court for the district.
March 28, 1838
5 Stat. 215
The act repealed sections of the act of 1837 that applied to the Western District of Virginia and restored to the U.S. District Court for the Western District the same powers and jurisdiction as a U.S. circuit court, except in appeals and writs of error, which were to be the jurisdiction of the U.S. circuit court meeting in Lewisburg.
August 16, 1842
5 Stat. 507
Congress reorganized the judicial circuits and assigned Virginia to the Fourth Circuit. 
June 11, 1864
13 Stat. 124
The act made that part of the Western District of Virginia within the boundaries of the new state of West Virginia the District of West Virginia, and the remainder of that Western District was combined with the Eastern District to form the District of Virginia.
February 3, 1871
16 Stat. 403
Congress again divided Virginia into two judicial districts, the Eastern and the Western, and authorized one judgeship for each. The sitting judge was assigned to the Eastern District.
August 2, 1935
49 Stat. 508
One additional judgeship authorized for the Eastern District.
May 31, 1938
52 Stat. 584
One additional judgeship authorized for the Western District.
February 10, 1954
68 Stat. 8
One additional judgeship authorized for the Eastern District.
March 18, 1966
80 Stat. 75
Two additional judgeships authorized for the Eastern District.
June 2, 1970
84 Stat. 294
One additional judgeship authorized for the Eastern District.
October 20, 1978
92 Stat. 1629
Two additional judgeships authorized for each district.
July 10, 1984
98 Stat. 333
One additional judgeship authorized for the Eastern District.
December 1, 1990
104 Stat. 5089
 
One temporary judgeship authorized for the Eastern District. (Statutory provision authorizing temporary judgeship in Eastern District revised by 109 Stat. 635 and judgeship extended by 111 Stat. 1173.)
December 21, 2000
114 Stat. 2762
One additional judgeship authorized for the Eastern District
November 2, 2002
116 Stat. 1758
Temporary judgeship authorized in 1990 for the Eastern District made permanent.


  

Authorized Judgeships 
 
Virginia District
Norfolk District
Potomac District
Eastern District
Western District
Total Judgeships
1789
1
 
 
 
 
1
1801
1
1
1
 
 
2
1802
1
 
 
 
 
1
1819
 
 
 
1
1
2
1864
1
 
 
 
 
1
1871
 
 
 
1
1
2
1935
 
 
 
2
1
3
1938
 
 
 
2
2
4
1954
 
 
 
3
2
5
1966
 
 
 
5
2
7
1967
5
3*
8
1970
 
 
 
6
3
9
1973
6
2
8
1978
 
 
 
8
4
12
1984
 
 
 
9
4
13
1990
 
 
 
10
4
14
2000
 
 
 
11
4
15


*Temporary judgeship authorized by 71 Stat. 586, which provided for the appointment of an additional judge when a sitting judge was certified as disabled.

 

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