Increase in Pay Scale for Federal Judiciary
October 15, 2003
The Honorable Dennis Hastert
U.S. House of Representatives
H-232 The U.S. Capitol
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Speaker Hastert:
On behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest business federation representing more than three million businesses and organizations of every size, sector and region, I write to urge you to support an increase in the pay-scale for the federal judiciary so as to partially compensate the judiciary for a failure over the last few decades to provide for cost-ofliving increases.
The federal judiciary is facing a crisis. After adjusting for inflation, the real pay for federal judges has declined approximately 24 percent since 1967 while the real pay for average Americans has actually increased by approximately 17 percent. The disparity is even greater when one compares the pay received by federal judges with other members in the legal profession – including the non-profit legal sector. Senior law professors at the top 25 law schools receive, on average, $240,000 to $290,000 for teaching and research activities. That translates into a 150 to 200% difference in salary when you examine what federal district court judges are paid.
The result in this gross pay disparity is that highly desirable and qualified potential judicial nominees who are current legal practitioners do not want to become federal judges because they cannot afford the significant drop in pay. Furthermore, current federal judges have resigned their judgeships at an increasing rate. This problem is having an increasing effect on the business community as the federal judiciary hears more and more complex commercial cases.
Accordingly, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce urges you to support an increase in the pay-scale for the federal judiciary.
R. Bruce Josten
Executive Vice President, Government Affairs
U.S. Chamber of Commerce