By Kyle Maichle, Editor of Wisconsin Election Watch,
MADISON – In the federal judiciary, people understand that federal judges once confirmed by the U.S. Senate hold the position for life on terms of good behavior. However, most people do not know of how federal judges are classified, especially those who are serving on senior status.
Under Title 28, Section 371(c) of the United States Code, federal judges can attain senior status if they reach age 65 and they have served fifteen years continuously on the court. This is better known as the “Rule of 80”. The “Rule of 80” requires that a judge’s age and years of service combined together must add up to 80 in order to attain senior status. If a judge reaches age 70, only a minimum of ten years of service as a federal judge is required to attain senior status.
When looking at Wisconsin’s delegation to the federal judiciary, there are three judges who currently serving on senior status. In the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge Richard Dickson Cudahy, former CEO of the Patrick Cudahy bacon company, has served on senior status since 1994. Judge Cudahy was confirmed to the Seventh Circuit in 1979. In the Western District of Wisconsin, Judge Barbara Crabb has served on senior status since 2010 after being confirmed to the bench in 1979. Currently, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is considering James D. Peterson to serve as her replacement. While in the Eastern District of Wisconsin, Judge Charles Clevert took senior status in 2012 after being first confirmed to the bench in 1995.
Once a judge is on senior status, a judge can earn full salary, have a reduced workload, and even hire law clerks. Currently, all federal district court judges earn a salary of $174,000 while all federal court of appeals judges earn a salary of $184,500.
Editor's Note-Our story can be found at: http://wisconsinelectionwatch.com/12852/judges-senior-status-wisconsins-longest-serving-federal-judg...