Bench Memos

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Re: What Salary Crisis?


Before I called that CRS report on the alleged “crisis” in judicial pay “exhaustive,” I should have noted that the author confines his analysis to the data on federal district court judges.  He does not consider the smaller group of judges at the circuit courts of appeal.  Could there be a more substantial departure rate among the circuit judges, and could that be caused by the judges’ frustration with what they see as inadequate pay?  Both are possible, and it would be interesting to see CRS extend its study to that class of judges.  But this would only constitute a “crisis” if there were a solid link between the salary level and some inability to fill vacancies on the circuit courts with able appointees.  So far, the only variables that have been shown to dissuade otherwise willing nominees are the long delays and the political partisanship awaiting them in the Senate.


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