THE THREE BRANCHES OF STATE GOVERNMENT 485 OPENING SESSION The House of Representatives chamber dome is the original Bohemian stained glass and has another dome on top for protection. The walls of the chamber are art marble and the base is Belgium black marble. The Mississippi Coat of Arms sits atop each arch. The desks for the 122 representatives are the originals from 1903. be removed from office by the governor for neglect of their duties and other reasons not warranting impeachment. Removal called for a two-thirds vote of each legislative house. The legislature elected William Bayard Shields, Powhatan Ellis, John Taylor, and John P. Hampton to serve as the first judges for the new State of Mississippi,. An untrue legend has it that, in the absence of any constitutional direction other than the provision that “the judge oldest in commission” would preside over the Supreme Court, the newly elected judges agreed that whomever arrived first at the Supreme Court courthouse would preside. In reality, the legislature picked the first presiding judge, William B. Shields. Trial courts were geographically divided into districts, which in turn were made up of three to six counties. Each district had one judge who was required to live in the district, and each county was required to hold court at least twice a year. The constitution of 1817 empowered the legislature to create “courts of chancery” for the purpose of hearing matters in equity, but they did not exercise the power until four years later. The legislature could also establish probate courts and justice courts. The 1817 constitution did not provide a method of selecting judges. Although one might expect the General Assembly, as the legislative branch of government was then known, to clarify the point, they did not truly do so upon their first meeting in Natchez. The General Assembly did pass an act organizing the judiciary, but largely failed to address the question. In the end, the General Assembly itself elected Mississippi’s judges while the constitution of 1817 remained in effect. At first, Mississippi did not have separate courts of equity as it does today in the form of chancery courts. However, George Poindexter, when governor, opposed placing both law and equity jurisdiction in the same court. The General Assembly created the Superior Court of the Chancery in 1821. It was during the period governed by the 1817