Roberts, Thomas urge Congress to approve pay hike for federal judges

[JURIST] US Chief Justice John Roberts [Oyez profile] and Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas [LII profile] told a House Appropriations subcommittee Thursday that Congress should pass a bill to raise the pay of federal judges in an attempt to close the pay gap between the federal judiciary and their colleagues in private practice. If passed, the Federal Judicial Salary Restoration Act of 2007 [S 1638 materials] would mark the first significant raise federal judges have received since 1991. The bill stops judicial pay from being set at the same level as members of Congress and would raise salaries for district judges to $218,000 per year; federal appeals judges would earn $231,000 per year and associate Supreme Court justices would earn $267,900. The Chief Justice would earn $279,900.

Roberts has called for a federal judiciary pay raise [JURIST report] since he began his tenure on the Court, arguing that experienced district court judges receive salaries comparable to first year associates at many law firms. In January, Roberts used his 2007 year-end report [PDF text] on the federal judiciary to press his point on inadequate pay.

Roberts and Thomas also urged Congress not to pass the Sunshine in the Courtroom Act of 2007 [S 352 text] which would permit the Supreme Court to televise all open sessions, unless there is a majority vote amongst the justices that coverage in a particular case is determined to be a violation of the due process rights of any party. The Justices argued that the determination should be left solely to the judiciary and that televised proceedings would place undue emphasis on oral arguments over written court documents. In April 2006, Thomas spoke out against cameras in the Supreme Court [JURIST report], countering the Senate Judiciary Committee's call for greater transparency in court proceedings. AP has more.

 

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