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U.S. Marshals Service


Recognition of the Need for Federal Marshals

The Authors of the Judiciary Act of 1789 (cont.)

Since the first 23 sections of the bill were clearly the most controversial, Ellsworth and Paterson probably continued to work on them up to the last minute before the bill was introduced in the Senate on June 12. The remaining sections were probably written early enough to be handed over to one of the clerks for transcription into the formal script of the day. A preponderance of the evidence, however, points to Ellsworth as the principal author of the bill. The comments of his contemporaries in the Senate, as well as the conclusions of later historians, attribute him with most of the work of authorship.

Maclay, for example, noted in his journal that the bill was a "children of Ellsworth's, 'and he defends it with the care of a parent, even with wrath and anger." Senator Paine Wingate of New Hampshire, who was on the Special Judiciary Committee, called Ellsworth "the leading projector" of the Bill. And Charles Warren. who wrote the definitive legislative history of the Act. concluded that Ellsworth was the main author.

Ellsworth was horn in Windsor. Connecticut, on April 29, 1745, and died in the same town on November 26. 1807. His was a long and illustrious career, intimately entwined with the formation of' the new nation. He attended Yale for two years before transferring to the College of New Jersey (which later changed its name to Princeton, where he graduated in 1766 with a Master of Arts degree. For the next several years, Ellsworth read the law before being admitted to the Connecticut bar in 1771. Six years later, he was elected to the Continental Congress, serving throughout the Revolutionary War until 1783. In 1784, he sat on the Connecticut Supreme Court of Errors, moving at the end of the year to the Connecticut Superior Court. As a delegate to the constitutional Convention in 1787, he helped formulate the  'Connecticut Compromise," which gave to each state equal representation in the Senate. It was during the Convention that Ellsworth proposed the name "United States" for the new country, which was quickly adopted by his colleagues.  

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