John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States, issued a 2016 year-end report on the judiciary. The Chief Justice in his annual report focused on the work of federal district court judges (federal trial court judges).
The Chief Justice noted that district judges work hard, in obscurity and subject to certain criticism for the sake of public service. (On this note, there are many other civil servants that toil anonymously, also (for far less than $205,100 (see chart below)).)
Author’s note: I have discussed federal lower court judges in discussing the profound injustice, which occurred in the employment discrimination case facing the Federal Reserve Board–Artis v. Greenspan Bernanke Yellen. The length, circuitous route, and incredible cost of time (18 years), effort and money that the plaintiffs have had to endure in this case to resolve this claim is offensive to the conscience. Such conditions show that the court system is also broken.
The district court judge, Emmet Sullivan (and others, perhaps) did their work, case management, and so on, discussed by the Chief Justice in his report. However, it is that same work that produced an expensive injustice for the plaintiffs involved in this case–the legal system was used as a weapon against financially poor litigants (case concluded, cert denied October 3, 2016). I cannot laud any district court judge for such treatment.
Moreover, The adversarial system must go in civil cases; it is unfair to mete out “justice” on the basis of a party’s financial status.
Notably, the Chief Justice did not mention of the late Associate Justice Antonin Scalia in the report.
[Note 1: Judicial pay has increased for 2017. See Executive Order __, schedule 7) (https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/salaries-wages/pay-executive-order-2017-adjustments-of-certain-rates-of-pay.pdf).
|Position||Pay in 2014 (in dollars)||Pay in 2015 (in dollars)||Pay in 2016 (in dollars)||Pay in 2017 (in dollars)|
|Chief Justice of the United States||255,500||255,500||260,700||263,300|
|Associate Justices of the Supreme Court||244,400||244,400||249,300||251,800|
|Judges of the Court of International Trade||199,100||199,100||203,100||205,100|
In the appendix to the report, the Chief Justice provides and explanation of the workload of the judiciary. I will focus on the Supreme Court’s workload. Twelve per curiam decisions were issued during this term in cases that were not argued.
|In forma pauperis||6846||7132||6627||6142||6576||6299||6160||6005||5808||5488||4926|