[JURIST] Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts [official profile; JURIST news archive] released his first year-end report on the federal judiciary [PDF text] Sunday, one of his duties as the highest judicial officer in the country. After acknowledging the need to ensure the safety of all courtrooms following the high-profile killings of a Georgia state judge and a federal district judge's family members [JURIST reports], Roberts stressed the importance of increasing the pay of federal judges in order to keep the best judges on the bench. Calling the low pay of judges a "direct threat" to the independence of the judiciary, Roberts argued that the real pay of judges, adjusted for inflation, has declined by almost 24 percent since 1969, compared to a 15 percent increase in real pay enjoyed by the average American worker over the same period. As a result, of the 92 federal judges who have retired since 1992, 59 have retired to assume more lucrative positions in private practice. AP has more.