The Judiciary Act of 1801 increased the number of federal courts, judgeships, clerks, and marshals. President Adams, whose term of office was about to expire, quickly filled the new positions with Federalists.
A few weeks before his term as president was over, John Adams signed into law the Judiciary Act of 1801, which reorganized the federal court system. The “midnight judges” were selected by President John Adams, who signed appointments up until midnight on his last day in office. President Jefferson refused to recognize their appointments, leading to the case Marbury v. Madison.