Law Dictionary

Judiciary Act

Law 1 Stat. 73 (1789)

legal Definition of Judiciary Act

divided the country into judicial districts and set up courts in each one, along with judges and attorneys with responsibility for civil and criminal actions in their districts. It also created the office of Attorney General of the United States, and provided for Supreme Court review of the final judgments of the highest court of any state in cases involving federal treaties and statutes or state statutes that may be invalid under the Constitution. The constitutionality of the Act was twice challenged in the Supreme Court in Martin v. Hunter's Lessee, 14 U.S. 304 (1816), and Cohens v. Virginia, 19 U.S. 264 (1821), but was upheld each time.

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