Judiciary Act of 1925

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The Judiciary Act of 1925 (43 Stat. 936), also known as the Judge's Bill[1] or Certiorari Act,[2] was an act of the United States Congress that sought to reduce the workload of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Although the Judiciary Act of 1891 (which created the United States courts of appeals and rendered a small part of the Supreme Court's jurisdiction discretionary subject to grant of writ of certiorari) had relieved pressure on the Supreme Court's docket, the court remained obliged to rule:

on the merits all cases appealed to it over which it had jurisdiction … [after the 1891 act, ] Congress gave the Court discretionary review authority over appellate decisions in diversity, patent, revenue, criminal and admiralty cases. Parties wishing to appeal such cases would file a petition for certiorari, which the Court could grant or deny without passing on the merits.[3]

Nonetheless, the number of appeals was a one-way upward ratchet, and the Justices argued that the only way to fix the problem once and for all was to have the Court conduct virtually all of its business by way of writ of certiorari.

Pushed by Chief Justice and former President William Howard Taft, Congress passed the 1925 act, which rendered the majority of the Supreme Court's workload discretionary, by removing the possibility of direct appeal to the court in most circumstances. Henceforth, pursuant to §237(b) of the act, appellants would file petitions for writs of certiorari with the Supreme Court, which would be accepted at the discretion of four of the nine Justices. "No longer did the Court have to hear almost every case an unhappy litigant presented to it. Instead, for the most part, the Court could select only those relatively few cases involving issues important enough to require a decision from the Supreme Court."[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Wood, Sandra L.; Keith, Linda Camp; Lanier, Drew Noble; Ogundele, Ayo (September 2000). "Opinion Assignment and the Chief Justice: 1888-1940". Social Science Quarterly 81 (3): 798, 801. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  2. ^ Teitelbaum, Joshua C. (2006). "Age and Tenure of the Justices and Productivity of the U.S. Supreme Court: Are Term Limits Necessary?". 34 Florida State University Law Review 34 (1): 161, 164. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  3. ^ Stern, Robert L.; Gressman, Eugene; Shapiro, Stephen M. (1999). "Epitaph for Mandatory Jurisdiction". The Mayer Brown Practices. Mayer Brown LLP. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Relations Between the Congress and the Judiciary". The Third Branch News. January 2004. Retrieved September 25, 2014. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Sternberg, Jonathan. "Deciding Not to Decide: The Judiciary Act of 1925 and the Discretionary Court," The Journal of Supreme Court History, Vol. 33, pp. 1-16 (March 2008).

External links[edit]