The Virginia Plan for a new national government, introduced on May 29, 1787, contained several bold proposals, including those related to establishment of a judicial branch:
A national judiciary to consist of one or more “supreme tribunals” with appellate (and final) jurisdiction over cases tried by lower national courts
The Virginia Plan contemplated a national judiciary with extensive powers over the states, just as, under that plan, the national legislature would have had power to legislate on all matters on which “the separate States are incompetent, or in which the harmony of the United States may be interrupted by the exercise of individual legislation.” Such extensive national powers were more than advocates of state sovereignty could bear.
The New Jersey Plan was submitted to the Convention on June 15 as a counter to the Virginia Plan. The New Jersey Plan envisioned a national judiciary in keeping with its modest proposals for strengthening the national legislature, but leaving most governing powers with the states:
Alexander Hamilton offered yet a third proposal on June 18 which, for all practical purposes, would have reduced the states to administrative units of the national government. His plan laid out extensive powers for a national executive, complemented by legislative and judicial branches. The legislature would have power “to institute Courts in each State for the determination of all matters of general concern.” A “supreme Judicial authority” consisting of judges appointed by the executive and approved by the Senate, holding office during “good behavior,” and receiving adequate and permanent salaries, would have authority to try cases of capture and to hear appeals “in all causes in which the revenues of the general Government or the Citizens of foreign Nations are concerned.”