May 28, 1788
NEXT to permanency in office, nothing can contribute more to the independence of the judges than a fixed provision for their support. The remark made in relation to the president, is equally applicable here.* In the general course of human nature, a power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power over his will. And we can never hope to see realised in practice the complete separation of the judicial from the legislative power, in any system, which leaves the former dependent for pecuniary resources 1 on the occasional grants of the latter. The enlightened friends to good government, in every state, have seen cause to lament the want of precise and explicit precautions in the state constitutions on this head. Some of these indeed have declared that permanent† salaries should be established for the judges; but the experiment has in some instances shewn that such expressions are not sufficiently definite to preclude legislative evasions. Something still more positive and unequivocal has been evinced to be requisite. The plan of the convention accordingly has provided, that the judges of the United States "shall at stated times receive for their services a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office."
This, all circumstances considered, is the most eligible provision that could have been devised. It will readily be understood, that the fluctuations in the value of money, and in the state of society, rendered a fixed rate of compensation in the constitu
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Publication information: Book title: The Federalist. Contributors: Jacob E. Cooke - Editor. Publisher: Wesleyan University Press. Place of publication: Middletown, CT. Publication year: 1961. Page number: 531.
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