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 2009.

Year Chief Justice Associate Justices 2016 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 $78,228 $70,405
1855 $6,500 $6,000 $167,073 $154,221
1871 $8,500 $8,000 $169,929 $159,933
1873 $10,500 $10,000 $209,913 $199,917
1903 $13,000 $12,500 $346,522 $333,194
1911 $15,000 $14,500 $385,554 $372,702
1926 $20,500 $20,000 $277,328 $270,564
1946 $25,500 $25,000 $313,180 $307,039
1955 $35,500 $35,000 $317,383 $312,913
1964 $40,000 $39,500 $308,884 $305,023
1969 $62,500 $60,000 $408,178 $391,851
1975 $65,600 $63,000 $291,975 $280,403
1976 $68,800 $66,000 $289,564 $277,779
1977 $75,000 $72,000 $296,417 $284,560
1978 $79,100 $76,000 $290,450 $279,067
1979 $84,700 $81,300 $279,498 $268,279
1980 $92,400 $88,700 $268,579 $257,825
1981 $96,800 $93,000 $255,004 $244,993
1982 $100,700 $96,700 $249,910 $239,983
1984 $104,700 $100,600 $241,360 $231,908
1985 $108,400 $104,100 $241,385 $231,809
1987 $111,700 $107,200 $235,473 $225,987
1987 $115,000 $110,000 $242,430 $231,889
1990 $124,000 $118,600 $227,312 $217,413
1991 $160,600 $153,600 $282,394 $270,085
1992 $166,200 $159,000 $283,647 $271,359
1993 $171,500 $164,100 $284,332 $272,064
1998 $175,400 $167,900 $257,728 $246,708
2000 $181,400 $173,600 $252,277 $241,430
2001 $186,300 $178,300 $251,983 $241,162
2002 $192,600 $184,400 $256,456 $245,537
2003 $198,600 $190,100 $258,561 $247,495
2004 $203,000 $194,300 $257,398 $246,367
2005 $208,100 $199,200 $255,188 $244,274
2006 $212,100 $203,000 $251,978 $241,167
2008 $217,400 $208,100 $241,828 $231,483
2009 $223,500 $213,900 $249,500 $238,784

Appeals Court[edit]

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

Year Salary 2016 inflation adjusted figures[note 1]
1891 $6,000 Data not available
1903 $7,000 $186,589
1919 $8,500 $117,417
1926 $12,500 $169,102
1946 $17,500 $214,927
1955 $25,500 $227,980
1964 $33,000 $254,829
1969 $42,500 $277,561
1975 $44,600 $198,507
1976 $46,800 $196,971
1977 $57,500 $227,253
1978 $60,700 $222,887
1979 $65,000 $214,491
1980 $70,900 $206,085
1981 $74,300 $195,731
1982 $77,300 $191,837
1984 $80,400 $185,342
1985 $83,200 $185,269
1987 $85,700 $180,663
1987 $95,000 $200,268
1990 $102,500 $187,899
1991 $132,700 $233,335
1992 $137,300 $234,325
1993 $141,700 $234,926
1998 $145,000 $213,059
2000 $149,900 $208,470
2001 $153,900 $208,160
2002 $159,100 $211,849
2003 $164,000 $213,514
2004 $167,600 $212,512
2005 $171,800 $210,674
2006 $175,100 $208,022
2008 $179,500 $199,669
2009 $184,500 $205,963

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.

Salaries of US district judges 1789–1867

Year Minimum Maximum 2016 inflation adjusted figures[note 1]
Minimum Maximum
1789 $800 $1,800 Data not available Data not available
1812 $800 $3,000 $11,289 $42,335
1816 $800 $3,100 $11,289 $43,746
1817 $800 $3,000 $11,995 $44,981
1830 $1,200 $3,500 $26,989 $78,717
1844 $1,200 $3,800 $30,844 $97,674
1847 $1,200 $3,500 $30,844 $89,962
1852 $1,200 $5,000 $34,546 $143,940
1854 $1,200 $3,500 $31,987 $93,294
1860 $1,200 $6,300 $31,987 $159,933
1862 $1,200 $3,500 $28,788 $83,965
1866 $1,200 $4,500 $19,628 $73,606
1867 $3,500 $5,000 $59,975 $85,679

Salaries of US district judges 1891–2009

Year Salary 2016 inflation adjusted figures[note 1]
1891 $5,000 $133,278
1903 $6,000 $159,933
1919 $7,500 $103,604
1926 $10,000 $135,282
1946 $15,000 $184,224
1955 $22,500 $201,158
1964 $30,000 $231,663
1969 $40,000 $261,234
1975 $42,000 $186,935
1976 $44,000 $185,186
1977 $54,500 $215,396
1978 $57,500 $211,136
1979 $61,500 $202,942
1980 $67,100 $195,040
1981 $70,300 $185,194
1982 $73,100 $181,414
1984 $76,000 $175,199
1985 $78,700 $175,249
1987 $81,100 $170,966
1987 $89,500 $188,674
1990 $96,600 $177,084
1991 $125,100 $219,972
1992 $129,500 $221,013
1993 $133,600 $221,497
1998 $136,700 $200,864
2000 $141,300 $196,509
2001 $145,100 $196,257
2002 $150,000 $199,732
2003 $154,700 $201,407
2004 $158,100 $200,466
2005 $162,100 $198,779
2006 $165,200 $196,260
2008 $169,300 $188,323
2009 $174,000 $194,242

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]