How to Pay the Piper: It’s Time to Call Different Tunes for Congressional and Judicial Salaries

Michael S. Greve and
Michael S. Greve John G. Searle Scholar, American Enterprise Institute
Russell Wheeler
russ wheeler
Russell Wheeler Nonresident Senior Fellow - Governance Studies

April 1, 2007

Executive Summary
An Ad Hoc Group on Federal Judicial Salaries comprising former U.S. Senators and Representatives has called for Congress to end the practice of linking the salaries of federal judges and those of members of Congress, if Congress is hesitant to raise its own salaries.

Brookings scholars and their colleagues at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research produced this paper to describe the history of interbranch salary linkage and to analyze it as policy. The Ad Hoc Group includes former Senators Howard Baker, John Danforth, and Sam Nunn, and former Representatives Richard Gephardt, Henry Hyde, Susan Molinari, Leon Panetta and Louis Stokes. The group’s May 8 letters to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees are available at the U.S. Courts website.

Note: Appendix Table 2—Salaries for Members, Circuit Judges and District Judges, 1891-2007 was revised May 24, 2007.