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Have there always been nine justices on the US Supreme Court?

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No. Congress has changed the number of justices on the US Supreme Court nine times in the history of the Court. This does not include years when vacancies were unfilled, reducing the number of justices by one or more.

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.
  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

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.
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