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There have been a total of 11 seats on the Supreme Court of the United States: one Chief Justiceship and ten Associate Justiceships. Two of the Associate Justiceships were abolished, leaving the nine-seat Court of today.

The Associate Justiceships are numbered in order of their creation. If seats were established simultaneously, they are numbered in the order in which they were filled. The dates given below for the filling of a seat are the dates the justices were sworn (not when they were confirmed by the Senate or commissioned).

The Judicial Circuits Act of July 23, 1866 [14 Stat. 209] provided that each Associate Justiceship would be abolished as it became vacant until only six Associate Justiceships would remain. Since there were nine Associate Justiceships when the Act was passed, three were to be abolished:

  • Seat 7 was vacant when the Judicial Circuits Act passed, and hence was abolished on July 23, 1866. John Catron was both the first and last occupant of this seat.
  • Seat 5 was abolished upon the death of James Moore Wayne on July 5, 1867.
  • The Circuit Judges Act of 1869 [see 16 Stat. 44] superseded the Judicial Circuits Act before a third seat could be abolished.

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