How to Enhance Federal Judicial Compensation

By Paul, Roland | Judicature, September/October 2008 | Go to article overview

How to Enhance Federal Judicial Compensation


Paul, Roland, Judicature


A nationwide occupational tax on attorneys could be used to increase the pathetically low current compensation of federal judges

Junior attorneys in many law firms today make more money than justices of the United States Supreme Court. The salary of a Supreme Court justice in 2007 was $203,000, and for the chief justice $212,100. Many second year attorneys now make more than that. And, as stated by Chief Justice John Roberts in his 2006 yearend Report on the Federal Judiciary, many first year attorneys make more money than the trial court judges they some day hope to appear before. This discrepancy in compensation, of course, is nothing short of a national disgrace, and a black mark against our profession, which strives to embody the highest moral standards. Most citizens, and probably most attorneys, would acknowledge that something is way out of kilter.

This compensation differential not only diminishes the dignity of the judiciary, but it also discourages the best and the brightest of our profession from seeking to serve on the bench. No matter how highly lawyers and perhaps others esteem the private practice of law, its social value is clearly below that provided by the judiciary.

There is, however, a fairly simple, and effectively painless, solution to this outrageous situation. For federal judges, it would be a nationwide occupational tax on attorneys, the revenue from which would be earmarked to bring federal judges' compensation up either to roughly what their peers earn in practicing law or at least up by a generous heft to remove the bane of such pathetically low compensation (perhaps up to 7080 percent of what high-priced lawyers earn).

There is ample precedent for such a tax. Already several states, including Connecticut and Texas, impose occupational taxes on attorneys practicing in those states. And most states in effect impose such a tax through registration fees on attorneys. Moreover, at the federal level there is already an occupational tax within the Internal Revenue Code - in section 5801 - on importers, manufacturers, and dealers of firearms.

The tax rate to generate the appropriate level of revenue to add to the federal judges' existing salary rates could be set by an appropriate congressionally delegated authority, and the revenue so raised could be allocated by the chief justice in his capacity as administrator of the federal judiciary.

Since there are so many lawyers and so few judges, the amount of tax on each attorney would be miniscule. And if the law firms choose to pass the added cost on to their clients, well, so be it. There are approximately one million lawyers in this country. The number of currently authorized federal district and appellate judges is about 900. Even if the tax were applied pro rata, instead of progressively as it should be, the tax per lawyer to increase each federal judge's compensation by $300,000 would only be $270!

Considerations

Several secondary issues should be considered:

1) Should the tax be imposed only on income directly related to the providing of legal services or on all income of those who are licensed to practice law? …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

How to Enhance Federal Judicial Compensation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.