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Building the JudiciaryLaw, Courts, and the Politics of Institutional Development$
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Justin Crowe

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780691152936

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691152936.001.0001

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The Early Republic

The Early Republic


(p.23) Chapter Two The Early Republic
Building the Judiciary

Justin Crowe

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the establishment of the federal judiciary from the beginning of George Washington's first term as president in 1789 to the end of Thomas Jefferson's first term in 1805. It considers three questions about the tumultuous politics of institutional design that followed the ratification of the Constitution: first, why judicial institution building was pursued; second, how it was accomplished; and third, what it achieved. It also discusses the three stages in which judicial institution building during this era occurred: stages: the policy compromise of 1789, the stalemate preventing large-scale judicial reform in the 1790s, and the flurry of policy and political initiatives of the early 1800s. The chapter concludes with an assessment of how Oliver Ellsworth's political entrepreneurship paved the way for a landmark, precedent-setting episode of judicial institution building that extended judicial power and expanded the judicial apparatus beyond simply the Supreme Court.

Keywords:   federal judiciary, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Constitution, judicial institution building, judicial reform, Oliver Ellsworth, political entrepreneurship, judicial power, Supreme Court

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