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Landmark Legislation: Circuit Judgeships
16 Stat. 44
April 10, 1869
CHAP. XXII.- An Act to amend the Judicial System of the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That the Supreme Court of the United States shall hereafter consist of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight associate justices, any six of whom shall constitute a quorum; and for the purposes of this act there shall be appointed an additional associate justice of said court.
SEC. 2. And be it further enacted, That for each of the nine existing judicial circuits there shall be appointed a circuit judge, who shall reside in his circuit, and shall possess the same power and jurisdiction therein as the justice of the Supreme Court allotted to the circuit. The circuit courts in each circuit shall be held by the justice of the Supreme Court allotted to the circuit, or by the circuit judge of the circuit, or by the district judge of the district sitting alone, or by the justice of the Supreme Court and circuit judge sitting together, in which case the justice of the Supreme Court shall preside, or in the absence of either of them by the other, (who shall preside,) and the district judge. And such courts may be held at the same time in the different districts of the same circuits, and cases may be heard and tried by each of the judges holding any such court sitting apart by direction of the presiding justice or judge, who shall designate the business to be done by each. The circuit judges shall each receive an annual salary of five thousand dollars.
SEC. 3. And be it further enacted, That nothing in this act shall affect the powers of the justices of the Supreme Court as judges of the circuit court, except in the appointment of clerks of the circuit courts, who in each circuit shall be appointed by the circuit judge of that circuit, and the clerks of the district courts shall be appointed by the judges thereof respectively: Provided, That the present clerks of said courts shall continue in office till other appointments be made in their place, or they be otherwise removed.
SEC. 4. And be it further enacted, That it shall be the duty of the Chief Justice and of each justice of the Supreme Court to attend at least one term of the circuit court in each district of his circuit during every period of two years.
SEC. 5. And be it further enacted, That any judge of any court of the United States, who, having held his commission as such at least ten years, shall, after having attained to the age of seventy years, resign his office, shall thereafter, during the residue of his natural life, receive the same salary which was by law payable to him at the time of his resignation.
SEC. 6. And be it further enacted, That this act shall take effect on the first Monday of December, eighteen hundred and sixty-nine.
APPROVED, April 10, 1869.