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Congress is determined by the number of states and the population of the states. Every ten years, a census of the population is done and Congressional committees act upon that information to increase or decrease the number of districts.

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10y ago
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14y ago

The Constitution does not specify a particular number of justices; Article III gives this power to Congress.

The Judiciary Act of 1789 provided for a 6-member Court, with a Chief Justice and 5 Associate Justices. Congress adjusted the size of the Court a number of times through the during the 19th-century.

Congress attempts to strike a balance by maintaining enough justices to handle the Court's caseload, without creating a group so large it functions inefficiently (and costs more money). Most likely, the current court has an odd number of Justices to prevent an evenly split decision. The number may have expanded to nine because the caseload has increased over the years, and not all Justices elect to review petitions for writ of certiorari (requests for a case to be reviewed by the court).

This solution works well most of the time; however, justices sometimes need to recuse themselves from hearing a case, or are ill or otherwise unable to attend oral arguments. This may leave the Court with an even number of members hearing the case. If there is a tie vote, as has occurred on a few occasions (at least once on a motion, once on a writ, and once on a case), the justices have the option of allowing the decision of the lower court to stand or of having the case reargued when the missing justice(s) are available.

Historically, Congress usually expanded the Court to accommodate an increasing workload. But on at least two occasions they used a reduction in the size of the Court to deprive a President of the opportunity to appoint new justices, as in the Judiciary Acts of 1801 and 1867.

After the election of President Ulysses S. Grant, Congress passed the Judiciary Act of 1869, which set the Court's membership at nine. This number has remained the same ever since.

  1. Judiciary Act of 1789: Court size 6
  2. Judiciary Act of 1801: Court size, 5
  3. Repeal Act of 1802: Court size, 6
  4. Seventh Circuit Act of 1807: Court size, 7
  5. Judiciary Act of 1837: Court size, 9
  6. Tenth Circuit Act of 1863: Court size, 10
  7. Judicial Circuit Act of 1866: Court size, 7
  8. Habeas Corpus Act of 1867: Court size, 8
  9. Judiciary Act of 1869: Court size, 9

In 1937, Franklin D. Roosevelt attempted unsuccessfully to expand the membership of the court to gain support on the Court for his New Deal programs. He proposed adding one justice to the Supreme Court for every member over 70.5 years of age, with the potential of adding as many as six additional justices, for a total of 15. Congress refused to pass Roosevelt's legislation; however, the President had an opportunity to nominate eight justices* to vacancies that occurred during his terms of office, which created a court more receptive to his ideas.

The size of the Supreme Court is unlikely to change again in the near future because Congress passed a The Judge's Bill in 1925 that allows the Supreme Court discretion over the cases they hear, enabling them to control caseload by limiting the number of cases they grant certiorari, rather than by expanding the Court.

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14y ago

The state's current population does. For example, California has the most as it has the most congressmen(53 currently i belive) and states such as Vermont or Alaska have a lot less.

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15y ago

There are 2 senators from every state regardless of the state's size.

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Q: How is the size of the senate determind?
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