Should Federal Judges be paid the same as Members of Congress

For the past 20 years, members of Congress have linked their salaries to those of federal judges as a strategy to avoid the wrath of voters who think lawmakers are overpaid and do not deserve an annual raise.
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Questions about the pay practice have been repeatedly raised in recent years, including by the National Commission on the Public Service, chaired by Paul A. Volcker, a former chairman of the Federal Reserve. The commission found that the buying power of judges has fallen behind inflation and that many law school deans, for example, earn more than federal judges.

Judges, Congress and the Salary Link,” by Stephen Barr, The Washington Post, April 25, 2007

A group of former U.S. Senators and Representatives is preparing to call for Congress to end the practice of linking the salaries of federal judges and those of members of Congress, if Congress is hesitant to raise its own salaries. To assist in this effort, Brookings scholars and their colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research produced this paper to describe the history of interbranch salary linkage and to analyze it as policy. (The group includes former Senators Howard Baker, John Danforth, and Sam Nunn, and former Representatives Richard Gephardt, Henry Hyde, Susan Molinari, Leon Panetta and Louis Stokes.)

How to Pay the Piper: It’s Time to Call Different Tunes for Congressional and Judicial Salaries,” by Russell R. Wheeler and Michael S. Greve, Issues in Governance Studies, The Brookings Institution, April 2007

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