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33 Third Branch 1 (2001)

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VOL.33                     r
Number 1
J,,,,,,.;. 2001 Special Issue


The 2000 Year-End Report on the
Federal Judiciary is my 15th report
as Chief Justice. Despite the seesaw
aftermath of the Presidential elec-
tion, we are once again witnessing
an orderly transition of power from
one Presidential administration to
another. This Presidential election,
however, tested our Constitutional
system in ways it has never been
tested before. The Florida State
courts, the lower federal courts and

Chief Justice William H. Reliquist

the Supreme Court of the United
States became involved in a way that
one hopes will seldom, if ever, be
necessary in the future.
I am pleased to report that a
federal courts improvement bill was
enacted for the first time in four
years. The Act includes nearly 30
provisions covering a wide range of
issues of importance to federal court
operations. Thanks are due to
Congress for creating ten new
district judgeships and for confirm-
ing 39 judges during the last year,
including three in Arizona, one of
the Southwestern states
where judges are so
urgently needed. I hope
that the 107th Congress
will take action on the
Judicial Conference's
request to establish ten
additional court of appeals
judgeships, 44 additional
district court judgeships
and 24 new bankruptcy
Although Congress
responded to many of the
Judiciary's legislative
priorities during this year,
I will focus in this report
on what I consider to be
the most pressing issue
facing the Judiciary: the
need to increase judicial

salaries. I will also discuss proposed
legislation that would effectively bar
judges from attending privately
sponsored seminars.
One key to the independence of
the federal Judiciary is that Article Ill
of the Constitution of the United
States guarantees federal judges
tenure during good behavior and
prohibits reducing their compensa-
tion while in office. Yet the federal
courts of course depend on Congress
for funding, including any increase
in judicial compensation.
At the Constitutional Convention,
the framers saw the necessity of
allowing periodic increases in
judicial salaries. Although the
original draft of the compensation
clause of Article III contained a
prohibition on either decreasing or
increasing the salary of a sitting
judge, the delegates to the Conven-
tion recognized that freezing judges'
salaries would be unworkable and
would nullify the protections of life
tenure. The delegates agreed that
Congress ought to be able to
increase salaries as circumstances
might require... .I They noted
three independent factors that could
See Report on page 2

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