Judges Have Lives Too

The folks over at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog (creatively named after a textbook published with the same name and written by the same authors) have broken the news of Federal District Judge Paul Cassell’s retirement. Ordinarily this wouldn’t be a major issue, but the WSJ law blog highlights the most important part of his decision:

And finally, I would be less than completely candid if I did not mention the uncertainty surrounding judicial pay as a factor in my decision. With three talented children approaching college years, it has been difficult for my wife and me to make financial plans. As you know, this year federal judges have yet to receive even a cost of living pay increase. Your much-appreciated proposal to raise judicial salaries has yet to be acted on by Congress. I would like to ensure that my children will have the same educational opportunities that I had. How to achieve that within the constraints on current judicial pay is more than a difficult task. My wife and I have concluded that we may not be able to do what we have always planned to do unless I make some changes.

I admire Judge Cassell for spending the last 5 years on the Court and I understand his decision. Despite the recent attention drawn to the subject of judicial salaries, Congress hasn’t done a good job of increasing the salaries it hands out to judges. Judge Cassell’s predicament isn’t unique but his decision to accept a presumably higher paying job in both the private and public sectors is an unusually public example of the thought process that many practicing lawyers must go through in order to weigh the opportunity to perform on the federal bench. Any person with sufficient qualifications to sit on the federal bench is assuredly qualified to made significantly more money in the private sector. The only way for the Federal Judiciary to attract the individuals at the top of the legal stratosphere is to increase the pay that it offers judges at all levels.


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Categories

Random Posts

  • Updates: I've updated a lot of the information on the Term Case Index in preparation for today's cases. I expect the Supreme Court to hand down 1-2 o...
  • An Interview with Michael Dreeben: Michael Dreeben, a Deputy Solicitor General, spent the last semester on leave to teach at Duke University Law School. During his time there,...
  • Update: List Of Advocates Who Have Argued Twice In A Month: Four days ago, I posted a list of the advocates who have argued twice during a single month since 2003. Well, that chart is already outdated...
  • Belated Decade Advocate Scorecard: For one reason or another, it looks like I forgot to post my updated advocate scorecard for the decade at the end of the last term. Origin...
  • Supreme Court Releases April Hearing List: The Supreme Court today released the Hearing List for April. Gregory Garre, former Solicitor General, will argue two times in the next ...