Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Due to a special event taking place in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, April 3, 2019, areas regularly included in the tour of the Capitol, such as the Rotunda and National Statuary Hall, will not be available for tours until the conclusion of the event at approximately 12:30 p.m. The Capitol Visitor Center will remain open throughout the day, and guide-led opportunities in the Capitol Visitor Center will be available during the event.

Congress and the Judicial Branch: Jurisdiction

Oliver Ellsworth and Abigail Wolcott Ellsworth (detail)

The Constitution’s framers created an independent judicial branch, but Congress and the president retain significant power to shape the courts.

The Constitution stipulates that “the judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may . . . establish,” but leaves the details of organization and authority for Congress to decide through legislation. How large is the Supreme Court and what is its jurisdiction? What kinds of cases must it hear? How many inferior courts are needed? Congress has used its constitutional authority to address these essential questions.