29 Third Branch 1 (1997)

handle is hein.journals/thirdbran29 and id is 1 raw text is: THE
THIRD
BRANCH
1090 Year-End
Report on the
Federal Judiciary
Overview

Newsletter
of the
Federal
Courts          'Y
Vol. 29
Number I
January 1997 Special Issue

Once again this year-in my
eleventh annual report on the state of
the Judiciary-I am struck by the
paradox of judicial independence in
the United States: we have as indepen-
dent a Judiciary as I know of in any
democracy, and yet the judges are
very much dependent on the Legisla-
tive and Executive Branches for the
enactment of laws to enable the judges
to do a better job of administering
justice.
Federal judges have tenure during
good behavior, and their compensa-
tion may not be diminished. And,
since the time of Chief Justice John
Marshall, these independent judges
have exercised the authority to have
the final say as to the meaning of the
United States Constitution and the
laws enacted by Congress. But it is
Congress which decides how many
federal judgeships there should be,
and of what type they should be;
Congress decides what kind of cases
federal courts should hear, as well as,
within limits, what procedures they
should follow. Congress must appro-
priate money for the Judiciary's
budget and determine the salaries of
all federal judicial officers.
The 104th Congress enacted two
bills of great importance to the Judi-

Chief Justice William H. Relnquist
ciary, both of which contained major
parts of recommendations by the Judi-
cial Conference: the Antiterrorism and
Effective Death Penalty Act, and the
Federal Courts Improvement Act. Un-
fortunately, judges can only regret that
Congress failed to repeal Section 140
of the Continuing Resolution Act of

December 15, 1981, Public Law 97-92
(Section 140), which provides that
no cost-of-living salary increases shall
be granted to federal judges without
express legislative approval. The Sen-
ate version of this year's Federal
Courts Improvement Act included a
See Report on page 2

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