October 4, 2007

DeBushification of the judiciary - The early retirement bonus plan

One of the big tasks after the 2008 elections will be DeBushification of the Federal government.

One of the toughest areas will be to reestablish the judiciary as a non-political branch of government.

That will be hard because most Federal judges are appointed for life, until impeached - or until they chose to retire.

Impeachment of judges, particularly when their offense is that of political leanings rather than truly overt acts, would be far more inflammatory than constructive.

But there is another way: Early retirement bonuses.

Private industry has long used the incentive of early retirement bonuses as a way to avoid layoffs.  The employer usually offers employees a substantial bonus - sometimes several years of normal salary - if they voluntarily terminate their employment.

The new Congress could use that same approach to encourage Federal judges to give up their seats and create openings for new judges.

Suppose Congress were to enact a law that would give Federal judges a lump sum, tax exempt payment of $1,000,000, if they leave the Federal bench before the age of 60, $500,000 if they leave before the age of 65, and $300,000 if they leave before the age of 75.

This approach would be politically neutral.  And the total cost would be about the same as a few days of fighting in Iraq.

Posted by karl at October 4, 2007 1:27 AM