Birth of the Nation: The First Federal Congress, 1789-1791 | Next Page
Creation of the Judiciary
Sen. Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut
Sen. Oliver Ellsworth of Connecticut
by James Sharples (Courtesy of 
the Independence National Historical Park)

Oliver Ellsworth was the chief architect of the Judiciary Act of 1789. He drew up the sections that delineated the jurisdiction of the federal courts and was the principal defender of the legislation during the Senate debates. Sen. Maclay, in one of his descriptions of the debate, says of Ellsworth: "This vile bill is a child of his and he defends it with the Care of a parent. even with wrath and anger." Others, such as Rep. Abraham Baldwin of Georgia, were more complimentary toward Ellsworth's efforts:
"The Senate have before them a bill on the judiciary department, in my opinion admirably contrived. My chum Ellsworth has been at work at it night and day these three months." (to Joel Barlow, June 14, 1789, Yale University Library)

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