Love's Labor's Lost? Judicial Tenure Among Lower Federal Court Judges: 1945-2000
University of Toronto - Faculty of Law
California Law Review, Vol. 90, 2003
Jurists and legal scholars have long decried the diminishing real salaries of federal judges, claiming that this decline has adversely affected the willingness of federal judges to remain on the bench. Using data provided by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, this article analyzes the tenure trends of federal judges who retired from the bench during 1945-2000. Using time-series regression analysis, this article shows that contrary to these claims, tenure trends remained fairly stable over this period for both district and circuit courts. Indeed, the only observable trends were towards longer tenure. The data reveals, however, that recent judicial appointees are wealthier than their predecessors, which may reflect a possible selection effect in members of the bar willing to join the federal bench. Moreover, while judicial salaries have diminished, expenditures within the federal judiciary are growing at a geometric rate, suggesting that judges are receiving increasing non-salary benefits.
Date posted: January 21, 2003
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