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Congress and the Courts: Landmark Legislation

1787
Article III, The U.S. Constitution provided the outline of the judicial branch of government.

1789
The Judiciary Act of 1789 established a federal court system.

1801
The Judiciary Act of 1801 reorganized the federal judiciary and established the first circuit judgeships.

1802
The Judiciary Act of 1802 reorganized the federal courts following repeal of the 1801 act.

1807
Establishment of the Seventh Circuit and a seventh seat on the Supreme Court.

1837
Establishment of the Eighth and Ninth Circuits and additional seats on the Supreme Court.

1855
Establishment of a California Circuit.

1863
Establishment of a Tenth Circuit and a tenth seat on the Supreme Court.

1866
Reorganization of the judicial circuits and reduction in the size of the Supreme Court.

1869
Establishment of circuit judgeships and setting the number of the Supreme Court seats at nine.

1875
Authorization for the federal courts to exercise the full jurisdiction allowed under the Constitution.

1891
Establishment of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals.

1911
Abolition of the U.S. Circuit Courts as part of the recodification of laws relating to the federal judiciary.

1922
Establishment of the Conference of Senior Circuit Judges (later the Judicial Conference of the United States).

1925
The Judges' Bill expanded the jurisdiction of the Courts of Appeals and allowed the Supreme Court to determine many of the cases it would hear.

1929
Division of the Eighth Judicial Circuit and establishment of a Tenth Circuit.

1939
Establishment of the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

1967
Establishment of the Federal Judicial Center.

1968
The Federal Magistrates Act.

1978
Establishment of U.S. Bankruptcy Courts.

1980
Division of the Fifth Judicial Circuit and establishment of an Eleventh Circuit.

1982
Establishment of the Federal Circuit.