Federal Circuit Slaps Hand of Congress Away From Judges’ Wallets

After any Supreme Court ruling, inevitable accusations of judicial politicking ensue.  The focus on the identities of the voters often obscures the legal analysis behind the vote.  However, this public discourse also underscores the fact that, in theory at least, we believe that adjudicators should be unbiased.  What is law if not fair, and what is fairness without dispassionate adjudicators?

The founding fathers, aware of the danger of a corrupt judiciary, explicitly enshrined the notion of judicial independence in the Constitution, mandating that judicial compensation “shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.” U.S. Const. Art. III §1.  The thought was the congressional and executive branches should not be able to leverage the judiciary by threatening its compensation.  Additionally, reasonable compensation attracts talented lawyers to the bench, thereby improving the administration of justice.  So long as that compensation is maintained, judges will not be tempted to leave the bench–where subsequent private practice could be threatened by one’s previous judicial decisions, or vice versa. Continue reading “Federal Circuit Slaps Hand of Congress Away From Judges’ Wallets”