The justices did not have control over much of their

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because the law was especially unclear, although rapidly developing, in that area. The justices did not have control over much of their docket, because Congress had the power and authority to regulate jurisdiction, a power that Congress has never shied away from using whenever that particular power suited their aims. In 1891, however, Congress allowed the justices some control over the docket by allowing review of circuit court appeals through granting certiorari (Federal Judicial Center, ―Supreme‖) . 7 Although this was a positive power, it allowed the justices to reject or refuse to hear many cases, thereby limiting the amount of cases they hear each year. A piece of legislation passed in 1925, called the Judges Bill (because the justices wrote it) expanded their discretion by limiting the kinds of cases the Court was mandated to hear (Shnayerson 178). By 1988, almost all types of mandatory jurisdiction cases were no longer mandatory, and the justices had wide-ranging control of their docket. Each year, the justices hear increasingly fewer cases even though the number of petitions for certiorari increases (Murphy et. al. 87-89). Size of the Court Over about one hundred years, the Court evolved into the institution it is today. Just as the duties and jurisdiction of the Court have changed, the size of the Court has also fluctuated. When Washington made his first appointments, only six justices comprised the Supreme Court. In 1807, Congress created a seventh seat on the Court due 7 Certiorari is a Latin term that literally means ―to be shown.‖ When the Supreme Court issues a Writ of Certiorari, they are essentially asking a lower court to send up the records of a particular case for review.
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18 to the growing U.S. population (Abraham 67). Again in 1837, Congress created two more seats, increasing the number of justices to nine. With the creation of the tenth circuit, a tenth justice was added to the Court in 1863 (Federal Judicial Center, ―Supreme‖) . The number of justices remained at ten until 1866, when Congress reduced the size of the Court in a blatant attempt to prevent President Andrew Johnson from appointing any justices (Federal Judicial Center, ―Supreme‖; Shnayerson 129; Frank). This meant that no appointments would be made until the number of sitting justices fell below seven; however, the Court ‘s membership only declined to eight justices before Congress again increased the size of the Court to nine justices in 1869 (Federal Judicial Center, ―Supreme‖ ). The Court has since had nine justices. Only once since 1869 has the size of the Court been threatened with change. During the Second Hundred Days of President Franklin Roosevelt‘s New Deal, Roosevelt addressed the public and presented what became known as the Court Packing Plan. Much of the New Deal legislation had made its way to the Supreme Court, and the justices were consistently ruling against most of that legislation, often by a very fractured, slim majority. Roosevelt decided to propose the Court Packing Plan to Congress to change the size of the Court. The Plan would allow Roosevelt to appoint one justice for every sitting justice who was over the age of seventy.
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