Origins of the Federal Court System

Creation of the Court

Were the framers in agreement on the creation of lower federal courts?

No, the framers disagreed over whether the Constitution should call for the creation of lower federal courts. For example, John Rutledge—who would later become the second chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court—said that creating lower federal courts would constitute “an unnecessary encroachment” upon state courts. Maryland’s Luther Martin warned that the creation of lower federal courts would cause “jealousies and oppositions in the State tribunals.” However, Virginia’s James Madison—the nation’s future fourth president—argued that lower federal courts were necessary to ensure the fair administration of justice. He warned that state courts may not provide “unbiased” rulings.


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