Federal judge salaries in the United States

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Federal judge salaries in the United States are determined by the United States Congress and are governed in part by the United States Constitution, depending in part on the court on which the judge sits. In particular, United States federal judges confirmed under Article III of the Constitution have compensation that "shall not be diminished during their continuance in office."[1] Other federal judges have salaries that may be adjusted without direct constitutional constraints, however statutory schemes usually govern these salaries. Debates over judicial salaries and their increase and treatment have occurred since the ratification of the Constitution.

Compensation varies based upon the particular judgeship, though it generally increases commensurate with the office.

Article III judges[edit]

Article III federal judges are those appointed under Article III, Section 1 of the U.S Constitution. Due to the Compensation Clause, these judges are federal judges that may not have their salaries diminished during their time in office, and are appointed to indefinite terms and may not be removed unless they resign or are impeached.

Supreme Court[edit]

The United States Supreme Court is the highest federal appellate court. Its members are commonly called justices.

The following table lists salary increases for the justices between 1789 and 2017.

Year Chief Justice Associate Justices 2018 inflation adjusted figures[note 1]
Chief Justice Associate Justice
1789 $4,000 $3,500 Data not available Data not available
1819 $5,000 $4,500 $81,837 $73,653
1855 $6,500 $6,000 $174,780 $161,336
1871 $8,500 $8,000 $177,768 $167,311
1873 $10,500 $10,000 $219,596 $209,139
1903 $13,000 $12,500 $362,507 $348,565
1911 $15,000 $14,500 $403,339 $389,895
1926 $20,500 $20,000 $290,121 $283,045
1946 $25,500 $25,000 $327,627 $321,203
1955 $35,500 $35,000 $332,024 $327,348
1964 $40,000 $39,500 $323,133 $319,094
1969 $62,500 $60,000 $427,008 $409,927
1975 $65,600 $63,000 $305,444 $293,338
1976 $68,800 $66,000 $302,921 $290,593
1977 $75,000 $72,000 $310,091 $297,687
1978 $79,100 $76,000 $303,849 $291,941
1979 $84,700 $81,300 $292,392 $280,655
1980 $92,400 $88,700 $280,969 $269,718
1981 $96,800 $93,000 $266,767 $256,295
1982 $100,700 $96,700 $261,438 $251,053
1984 $104,700 $100,600 $252,494 $242,606
1985 $108,400 $104,100 $252,520 $242,503
1987 $111,700 $107,200 $246,335 $236,411
1987 $115,000 $110,000 $253,613 $242,586
1990 $124,000 $118,600 $237,798 $227,443
1991 $160,600 $153,600 $295,421 $282,544
1992 $166,200 $159,000 $296,732 $283,877
1993 $171,500 $164,100 $297,448 $284,614
1998 $175,400 $167,900 $269,618 $258,089
2000 $181,400 $173,600 $263,915 $252,567
2001 $186,300 $178,300 $263,607 $252,287
2002 $192,600 $184,400 $268,286 $256,864
2003 $198,600 $190,100 $270,488 $258,912
2004 $203,000 $194,300 $269,272 $257,732
2005 $208,100 $199,200 $266,959 $255,542
2006 $212,100 $203,000 $263,602 $252,292
2008 $217,400 $208,100 $252,984 $242,161
2009 $223,500 $213,900 $261,010 $249,799
2010 $223,500 $213,900 $256,788 $245,758
2011 $223,500 $213,900 $248,925 $238,233
2012 $223,500 $213,900 $243,909 $233,433
2013 $223,500 $213,900 $240,390 $230,065
2014 $255,500 $244,400 $270,405 $261,197
2015 $258,100 $246,800 $272,811 $260,867
2016 $260,700 $249,300 $272,159 $260,258
2017 $263,300 $251,800 NA NA

Appeals Court[edit]

The following is a list of salaries for judges on the United States Court of Appeals.

Year Salary 2018 inflation adjusted figures[note 1]
1891 $6,000 Data not available
1903 $7,000 $195,196
1919 $8,500 $122,834
1926 $12,500 $176,903
1946 $17,500 $224,842
1955 $25,500 $238,496
1964 $33,000 $266,585
1969 $42,500 $290,365
1975 $44,600 $207,664
1976 $46,800 $206,057
1977 $57,500 $237,736
1978 $60,700 $233,169
1979 $65,000 $224,386
1980 $70,900 $215,592
1981 $74,300 $204,760
1982 $77,300 $200,687
1984 $80,400 $193,892
1985 $83,200 $193,816
1987 $85,700 $188,997
1987 $95,000 $209,506
1990 $102,500 $196,567
1991 $132,700 $244,099
1992 $137,300 $245,134
1993 $141,700 $245,763
1998 $145,000 $222,888
2000 $149,900 $218,086
2001 $153,900 $217,762
2002 $159,100 $221,621
2003 $164,000 $223,364
2004 $167,600 $222,315
2005 $171,800 $220,392
2006 $175,100 $217,618
2008 $179,500 $208,880
2009 $184,500 $215,465

District Court[edit]

The following is a table of district judge salaries in the United States. District judge salaries varied based on the state prior to 1891. They were unified in 1891.

Year Minimum Maximum 2018 inflation adjusted figures[note 1]
Salaries of US district judges 1789–1867
1789 $800 $1,800 Data not available Data not available
1812 $800 $3,000 $11,810 $44,288
1816 $800 $3,100 $11,810 $45,765
1817 $800 $3,000 $12,548 $47,056
1830 $1,200 $3,500 $28,234 $82,348
1844 $1,200 $3,800 $32,267 $102,179
1847 $1,200 $3,500 $32,267 $94,113
1852 $1,200 $5,000 $36,139 $150,580
1854 $1,200 $3,500 $33,462 $97,598
1860 $1,200 $6,300 $33,462 $167,311
1862 $1,200 $3,500 $30,116 $87,838
1866 $1,200 $4,500 $20,534 $77,001
1867 $3,500 $5,000 $62,742 $89,631
Year Salary 2018 inflation adjusted figures[note 1]
Salaries of US district judges 1891–2009
1891 $5,000 $139,426
1903 $6,000 $167,311
1919 $7,500 $108,383
1926 $10,000 $141,523
1946 $15,000 $192,722
1955 $22,500 $210,438
1964 $30,000 $242,350
1969 $40,000 $273,285
1975 $42,000 $195,558
1976 $44,000 $193,729
1977 $54,500 $225,333
1978 $57,500 $220,876
1979 $61,500 $212,303
1980 $67,100 $204,037
1981 $70,300 $193,737
1982 $73,100 $189,783
1984 $76,000 $183,281
1985 $78,700 $183,333
1987 $81,100 $178,852
1987 $89,500 $197,377
1990 $96,600 $185,253
1991 $125,100 $230,119
1992 $129,500 $231,208
1993 $133,600 $231,715
1998 $136,700 $210,130
2000 $141,300 $205,574
2001 $145,100 $205,311
2002 $150,000 $208,945
2003 $154,700 $210,698
2004 $158,100 $209,714
2005 $162,100 $207,949
2006 $165,200 $205,314
2008 $169,300 $197,011
2009 $174,000 $203,202

Court of International Trade[edit]

According to the Federal Judiciary Center, Court of International Trade judges receive the same salary as district court judges.[2]

Non Article III judges[edit]

Magistrate judges[edit]

Since 1988, the salary of magistrate judges is set by the Judicial Conference of the United States, but may not exceed 92 percent of the salary of district court judges.[3]

Bankruptcy judges[edit]

Since 1988, bankruptcy judges receive compensation equal to 92 percent of the salary of district judges. [4]

Administrative Law Judges[edit]

United States Administrative Law Judges are hired in the pay category of AL 3A and proceed on an annual basis through the steps until they reach AL 3F. The base pay for each step varies according to the location of the position and the locality pay paid in that area. This chart explains the various salary grades. Due to wage compression and the lack of any federal pay increases, most USALJs earn $168,600 annually as of 2015. ALJ pay is capped at 85% of a Level IV Senior Executive Schedule. This pay cap has resulted in severe pay compression for USALJs. As a result, many USALJs have retired or plan to retire within the next few years, resulting in a loss of experienced judges throughout the federal government. Congress has shown no interest in addressing the pay compression issue.

Tax Court judges[edit]

Judges of the Tax Court receive the same compensation as district court judges.[5]

Court of Federal Claims judges[edit]

Since 1988, judges of the Court of Federal Claims receive the same compensation as district court judges.[6]

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces[edit]

Judges of the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces receive the same compensation as judges of the circuit courts of appeals.[7]

Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims[edit]

Judges of the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims receive the same compensation as district court judges.[8]

United States Court of Private Land Claims[edit]

United States Court for Berlin[edit]

Territorial judges[edit]

Territorial Courts are created under Article IV and exist in U.S. Territories. Only three currently exist. Compensation is fixed at the rate of regular district court judges.

Hybrid courts and others[edit]

District of Columbia courts[edit]

United States Commerce Court[edit]

The United States Commerce Court sat from 1910 to 1913. It had a staggered and limited-term membership, but consisted of Article III Appellate Court judges that would be at-large judges when not on the Court.

United States Court of Claims[edit]

The United States Court of Claims was a court that served from 1855 to 1982. It existed as both an Article I and Article III court (after 1953).

Court of Customs and Patent Appeals[edit]

The Court of Customs and Patent Appeals was a court sitting from 1909 to 1982. Its treatment as an Article I or Article III court is ambiguous; it was originally ruled an Article I court, however it was later ruled an Article III court after Congress amended the law creating it.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ U.S. Constitution, Art III, Sec 1.
  2. ^ "History of the Federal Judiciary". Federal Judiciary Center. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  3. ^ "History of the Federal Judiciary". Federal Judiciary Center. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  4. ^ "28 U.S.C. § 153". Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  5. ^ "26 U.S.C. § 7443". Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  6. ^ "28 U.S.C. § 172". Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  7. ^ "10 U.S.C. § 942". Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 11 January 2014.
  8. ^ "38 U.S.C. § 7253". Cornell University Law School. Retrieved 11 January 2014.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Based on CPI figures. See {{Inflation}} for details.

External links[edit]