Supreme Court justices traveled hundreds, even thousands, of miles as members of a circuit court designed to bring the federal judiciary system to the people.
The Judiciary Act of 1789
Both original and appellate jurisdiction were in the hands of the justices, creating a controversial dual role. In response to potential conflicts of interest for justices and the rigors of circuit travel, circuit riding was eliminated by a section in the Judiciary Act of 1801
To meet the needs of territorial expansion, the Judiciary Act of 1837 added new circuits and new justices until there were nine of each. In 1869 Congress approved a measure authorizing the appointment of nine new circuit judges, reducing the justices’ circuit duties to one term every two years. The Judiciary Act of 1891 lightened the court docket of the justices by creating U.S. circuit courts of appeals
Circuit courts of appeals
Judiciary Act of 1789
Judiciary Acts of 1801-1925
Stuart v. Laird