Thursday, September 17, 2009

L.A. judge says he can't afford to remain on federal bench

L.A. judge says he can't afford to remain on federal bench, Nat'l L.J., Sept. 16, 2009:

Fewer than two weeks after U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., introduced a bill that would authorize more federal judgeships nationwide, a federal district judge in Los Angeles announced that he would resign on Nov. 2 because he can no longer afford to remain on the bench.

U.S. District Judge Stephen G. Larson of the Los Angeles-based Central District of California said in a prepared statement on Sept. 15 that the failure by Congress to increase judicial salaries made it impossible to support his seven children, all under age 18.

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On Sept. 8, Leahy introduced SB 1653, the Federal Judgeship Act of 2009, which would establish 63 new permanent and temporary judgeships across the country. It would be the first legislation in 19 years to address federal judgeships.

The bill is here.

The new judgeships proposed in our "neighborhood" are:
4 9th circuit judgeships
1 temporary 9th circuit judgeship
1 W.D. Wash. judgeship
1 D. Ore. judgeship

What's this about "temporary" judgeships? Doesn't Article III promise judges life tenure ("during good behaviour")?

Well, yes. The bill provides that the JUDGE would get a permanent appointment, but the court would only have that many slots temporarily: "For each of the judicial districts named in this subsection, the first vacancy arising on the district court 10 years or more after a judge is first confirmed to fill the temporary district judgeship created in that district by this subsection shall not be filled."

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