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United States Circuit Courts in 1859, by the numbers

In 1859, below the United States Supreme Court sat nine Judicial Circuits, holding court twice each year for every state within that jurisdiction.  The presiding judge of each circuit was a member of the U.S. Supreme Court, connected geographically with the area whenever possible.  For example, in 1859, the 1st Circuit consisted of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island with Justice Nathan Clifford, a Maine native, presiding.  The 3rd Circuit covered New Jersey and Pennsylvania and Justice Robert Grier of Pennsylvania presided. The 9th Circuit covered Arkansas and Mississippi with Virginian Justice Peter V. Daniel on the bench.  Places and times for the visit of the Circuit Court to a particular state were set.  For instance, in the 4th Circuit, Chief Justice Taney would gavel the court into session in Delaware at Wilmington on the third Tuesday in June and October, in Baltimore in Maryland on the first Monday in April and November, and for Virginia at Richmond on the first Monday in May and the fourth Monday in November, with an extra Virginia session at Lewisburg on the first Monday in August. Geography made California a special case in 1859; an undesignated circuit there met in San Francisco and Los Angeles, with local Judge Matthew H. McAllister representing the federal courts. (By John Osborne)  
Source Citation: 

 The American Almanac and Repository of Useful Knowledge for the Year 1860 (Boston: Crosby, Nichols, and Company, 1860), 112-113.


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