In his year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary released Wednesday evening, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. praised the courts as frugal, dedicated and crucial to the life and economic recovery of the nation. But to keep the courts strong, Roberts said — as he has urged in the past — Congress needs to pass pay raises, or at least cost-of-living increases, for federal judges as soon as possible.

“Given the judiciary’s small cost, and its absolutely critical role in protecting the Constitution and rights we enjoy, I must renew the judiciary’s modest petition: Simply provide cost-of-living increases that have been unfairly denied!” Roberts wrote in his report. “We have done our part — it is long past time for Congress to do its.”