James Madison proposed indexing judicial pay to the price of wheat or another commodity. But a commodity of stable value couldn't be found, so instead the founding fathers bestowed upon Congress the authority to raise judges' salaries. The compromise helped to create today's tension among the Compensation Clause's goal of preserving judicial pay, inflation's erosion of that pay, and Congress' control of judicial pay, according to an amicus brief challenging Congress' failure to appropriate judicial cost-of-living increases.
Brief of the Week: In Beer v. U.S., a fight over judicial pay
The National Law Journal
June 23, 2010
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