A year ago we posted notes here and here on Chief Justice John Roberts’ state of the judiciary report for 2007, in which he bemoaned federal judges’ low salaries and warned of a “constitutional crisis” if salaries were not increased. We were not competent to offer informed insight on CJ Roberts’ legal claim, but we were able to quickly dispense with his economic arguments. Taking his own data at face value, we were able to show that his argument lacked any merit.
Category Archives: Federal Courts
DHS’ ‘No-Match Rule’ Stopped by Preliminary Injunction
The Regulatory Flexibility Act and unlawful aliens
On October 10, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer issued a preliminary injunction barring the Department of Homeland Security from implementing a regulation it issued in August that tightened up existing practice in the enforcement of 1986 federal immigration law. The case provides a lesson in administrative procedure — particularly, how an agency’s failure to take obscure procedures seriously can backfire.
The U.S. Supreme Court decided on June 21 that under federal law governing shareholder suits alleging securities fraud (Tellabs v. Makor Issues and Rights), “an inference of scienter must be more than merely plausible or reasonable—it must be cogent and at least as compelling as any opposing inference of non fraudulent intent.” Newspaper commentary on the case correctly suggests that this will make shareholder suits more difficult. However, other aspects of economic reasoning in these stories has been woefully lacking.
Exhibit A is Stephen Labaton’s Page One article in the New York Times.
On January 8, the Senate voted to de-link cost of living adjustments (COLAs) of judges from the pay received by Members of Congress. It is not clear whether this action was taken in response to Chief Justice John Roberts’ recent complaint about declining judicial salaries, which are statutorily linked to salaries of Members of Congress.
Whether judicial salaries continue to be linked to Members of Congress, or are (as Roberts prefers) linked in some fashion to salaries in the competitive market for equally capable attorneys, there will be important incentive effects in the judicial labor market. Failing to consider these incentive effects carefully guarantees unintended consequences.
Yesterday we posted an extensive analysis of Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts’ claim that federal judges are underpaid. This morning we discovered that he made the same claim in his 2005 year-end report, and used almost identical language.
We have little to add to yesterday’s analysis. Similar independent analyses are offered by Matthew Franck writing on National Review Online, Carolyn Elefant at Law.com, Stephen Bainbridge, and Ilya Somin writing at the Volokh Conspiracy.
Thanks to The Razvan Blog, we learned that Chief Justice Roberts made much the same argument in his 2005 year-end report, and used much the same language.
In his 2006 report on the state of the federal judiciary, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts says salaries for federal judges are too low and calls on Congress to increase them. He writes that “the issue has been ignored far too long and has now reached the level of a constitutional crisis that threatens to undermine the strength and independence of the federal judiciary.”
We analyze CJ Roberts’ data and arguments.