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S. 787 (108th): Fair and Independent Federal Judiciary Act of 2003


The text of the bill below is as of Apr 3, 2003 (Introduced). The bill was not enacted into law.


S 787 IS

108th CONGRESS

1st Session

S. 787

To provide for the fair treatment of the Federal judiciary relating to compensation and benefits, and to instill greater public confidence in the Federal courts.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

April 3, 2003

Mr. LEAHY (for himself and Mr. KERRY) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To provide for the fair treatment of the Federal judiciary relating to compensation and benefits, and to instill greater public confidence in the Federal courts.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ‘Fair and Independent Federal Judiciary Act of 2003’.

SEC. 2. SALARY ADJUSTMENTS.

    (a) RESTORATION OF STATUTORY COST-OF-LIVING ADJUSTMENTS- The annual salaries for justices and judges are the following:

      (1) Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, $211,300.

      (2) Associate Justices of the Supreme Court, $202,100.

      (3) Judges, Court of Appeals, $174,600.

      (4) Judges, Court of Military Appeals, $174,600.

      (5) Judges, District Court, $164,700.

      (6) Judges, Court of Federal Claims, $164,700.

      (7) Judges, Court of International Trade, $164,700.

      (8) Judges, Tax Court, $164,700.

      (9) Judges, Bankruptcy, $151,524.

    (b) EFFECTIVE DATE- This section shall take effect on the first day of the first applicable pay period beginning on or after the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 3. REPEAL OF ANNUAL CONGRESSIONAL AUTHORIZATION FOR COST OF LIVING ADJUSTMENT.

    Section 140 of Public Law 97-92 (28 U.S.C. 461 note) is repealed.

SEC. 4. SURVIVOR BENEFITS UNDER JUDICIAL SYSTEM AND OTHER SYSTEMS.

    (a) CREDITABLE YEARS OF SERVICE- Section 376 of title 28, United States Code, is amended--

      (1) in subsection (k)(3), by striking the colon through ‘this section’; and

      (2) in subsection (r), by striking the colon through ‘other annuity’.

    (b) NOTIFICATION PERIOD FOR SURVIVOR ANNUITY COVERAGE-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Section 376 (a)(1) of title 28, United States Code, is amended in the matter following subparagraph (G) by striking ‘six months’ and inserting ‘1 year’.

      (2) EFFECTIVE DATE- This subsection shall take effect on the date of enactment of this Act and apply only to written notifications received by the Director of the Administrative Office of the United States Courts after the dates described under clause (i) or (ii) in the matter following subparagraph (G) of section 376 (a)(1) of title 28, United States Code.

SEC. 5. CITIZENS’ COMMISSION ON PUBLIC SERVICE AND COMPENSATION.

    (a) APPOINTMENTS-

      (1) IN GENERAL- Not later than 60 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the President shall appoint members to the Citizens’ Commission on Public Service and Compensation under section 225 of the Federal Salary Act of 1967 (2 U.S.C. 351 et seq.).

      (2) MEMBERSHIP- Section 225(b) of the Federal Salary Act of 1967 (2 U.S.C. 352) is amended--

        (A) by striking paragraph (1) and inserting the following:

      ‘(1) The Commission shall be composed of 11 members, who shall be appointed from private life by the President. No more than 6 members of the Commission may be affiliated with the same political party.’;

        (B) by striking paragraph (4); and

        (C) by redesignating paragraphs (5) through (8) as paragraphs (4) through (7), respectively.

      (3) QUADRENNIAL APPLICATION- Section 225(b)(8)(B) of the Federal Salary Act of 1967 (2 U.S.C. 352(8)(B)), is amended in the first sentence by striking ‘1993’ each place that term appears and inserting ‘2006’ in each such place.

    (b) REPORT- The Citizens’ Commission on Public Service and Compensation shall prepare a report in accordance with section 225 of the Federal Salary Act of 1967 (2 U.S.C. 351 et seq.) with respect to fiscal year 2003 and every fourth fiscal year thereafter.

SEC. 6. JUDICIAL EDUCATION FUND.

    (a) ESTABLISHMENT- Chapter 42 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

‘Sec. 630. Judicial Education Fund

    ‘(a) In this section, the term--

      ‘(1) ‘institution of higher education’ has the meaning given under section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a));

      ‘(2) ‘private judicial seminar’--

        ‘(A) means a seminar, symposia, panel discussion, course, or a similar event that provides continuing legal education to judges; and

        ‘(B) does not include--

          ‘(i) seminars that last 1 day or less and are conducted by, and on the campus of, an institute of higher education;

          ‘(ii) seminars that last 1 day or less and are conducted by national bar associations or State or local bar associations for the benefit of the bar association membership; or

          ‘(iii) seminars of any length conducted by, and on the campus of an institute of higher education or by national bar associations or State or local bar associations, where a judge is a presenter and at which judges constitute less than 25 percent of the participants;

      ‘(3) ‘national bar association’ means a national organization that is open to general membership to all members of the bar; and

      ‘(4) ‘State or local bar association’ means a State or local organization that is open to general membership to all members of the bar in the specified geographic region.

    ‘(b) There is established within the United States Treasury a fund to be known as the ‘Judicial Education Fund’ (in this section referred to as the ‘Fund’).

    ‘(c) Amounts in the Fund may be made available for the payment of necessary expenses, including reasonable expenditures for transportation, food, lodging, private judicial seminar fees and materials, incurred by a judge or justice in attending a private judicial seminar approved by the Board of the Federal Judicial Center. Necessary expenses shall not include expenditures for recreational activities or entertainment other than that provided to all attendees as an integral part of the private judicial seminar. Any payment from the Fund shall be approved by the Board.

    ‘(d) The Board may approve a private judicial seminar after submission of information by the sponsor of that private judicial seminar that includes--

      ‘(1) the content of the private judicial seminar (including a list of presenters, topics, and course materials); and

      ‘(2) the litigation activities of the sponsor and the presenters at the private judicial seminar (including the litigation activities of the employer of each presenter) on the topic related to those addressed at the private judicial seminar.

    ‘(e) If the Board approves a private judicial seminar, the Board shall make the information submitted under subsection (d) relating to the private judicial seminar available to judges and the public by posting the information on the Internet.

    ‘(f) The Judicial Conference shall promulgate guidelines to ensure that the Board only approves private judicial seminars that are conducted in a manner so as to maintain the public’s confidence in an unbiased and fair-minded judiciary.

    ‘(g) There are authorized to be appropriated for deposit in the Fund $2,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2003, 2004, and 2005, to remain available until expended.’.

    (b) TECHNICAL AND CONFORMING AMENDMENT- The table of sections for chapter 42 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

      ‘630. Judicial Education Fund.’.

SEC. 7. PRIVATE JUDICIAL SEMINAR GIFTS PROHIBITED.

    (a) DEFINITIONS- In this section, the term--

      (1) ‘institution of higher education’ has the meaning given under section 101(a) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1001(a));

      (2) ‘private judicial seminar’--

        (A) means a seminar, symposia, panel discussion, course, or a similar event that provides continuing legal education to judges; and

        (B) does not include--

          (i) seminars that last 1 day or less and are conducted by, and on the campus of, an institute of higher education;

          (ii) seminars that last 1 day or less and are conducted by national bar associations or State or local bar associations for the benefit of the bar association membership; or

          (iii) seminars of any length conducted by, and on the campus of an institute of higher education or by national bar associations or State or local bar associations, where a judge is a presenter and at which judges constitute less than 25 percent of the participants.

      (3) ‘national bar association’ means a national organization that is open to general membership to all members of the bar; and

      (4) ‘State or local bar association’ means a State or local organization that is open to general membership to all members of the bar in the specified geographic region.

    (b) IN GENERAL- Not later than 240 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Judicial Conference of the United States shall promulgate regulations to apply section 7353(a) of title 5, United States Code, to prohibit the solicitation or acceptance of anything of value in connection with a private judicial seminar.

    (c) EXCEPTION- The prohibition under the regulations promulgated under subsection (b) shall not apply if--

      (1) the judge participates in a private judicial seminar as a speaker, panel participant, or otherwise presents information;

      (2) Federal judges are not the primary audience at the private judicial seminar; and

      (3) the thing of value accepted is--

        (A) reimbursement from the private judicial seminar sponsor of reasonable transportation, food, or lodging expenses on any day on which the judge speaks, participates, or presents information, as applicable;

        (B) attendance at the private judicial seminar on any day on which the judge speaks, participates, or presents information, as applicable; or

        (C) anything excluded from the definition of a gift under regulations of the Judicial Conference of the United States under sections 7351 and 7353 of title 5, United States Code, as in effect on the date of enactment of this Act.

SEC. 8. RECUSAL LISTS.

    Section 455 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

    ‘(g)(1) Each justice, judge, and magistrate of the United States shall maintain a list of all financial interests that would require disqualification under subsection (b)(4).

    ‘(2) Each list maintained under paragraph (1) shall be made available to the public at the office of the clerk for the court at which a justice, judge, or magistrate is assigned.’.

SEC. 9. AVOIDING IMPROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY IN ALL ACTIVITIES.

    In accordance with the Code of Conduct for United States Judges, a judge must avoid all impropriety and appearance of impropriety. The prohibition against behaving with impropriety applies to both the professional and personal conduct of a judge. Therefore, a judge should not hold membership in any organization, except for religious or fraternal organizations, that practices discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion, or national origin.