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History of the CT Supreme Court

Prior to the creation of the Supreme Court in 1784, the power to review lower court rulings was vested in the General Assembly, which determined appeals by examining trial court records. Even after its creation, the Supreme Court was not completely independent of the executive and legislative branches, since its members included the Lieutenant Governor, members of the Council (or upper chamber of the General Assembly), and, in 1794, the Governor.

Supreme Court of Errors In 1806, the number of Superior Court judges was increased from five to nine and those judges, sitting together, constituted the Supreme Court, replacing the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Council Members. The General Assembly, however, retained the power to overturn the court’s rulings. Twelve years later, in 1818, the Connecticut Constitution established an independent judiciary, with the Supreme Court of Errors as the state’s highest court. (The words “of Errors” were deleted in 1965). The creation of an independent judiciary established the third branch of government, which is responsible for interpreting the laws enacted by the legislative branch of government.

In 1982, in response to an overwhelming Supreme Court docket, Connecticut’s voters approved a constitutional amendment creating the intermediate Appellate Court. That court, which consists of nine judges, sits at 75 Elm Street in Hartford.