An Inspector General for the federal judiciary?

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The Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senator Charles Grassley from Iowa, is proposing to create the position of Inspector General for the federal judiciary. See Lyle Denniston, Constitution Check: Do the Supreme Court and other federal courts need a watchdog?, Constitution Daily (May 28, 2015) (discussing S. 1418 (2015).).

As of this moment, the bill is not available to the public:

As of 05/28/2015 text has not been received for S.1418 – A bill to amend title 28, United States Code, to provide an Inspector General for the judicial branch, and for other purposes.

Bills are generally sent to the Library of Congress from GPO, the Government Publishing Office, a day or two after they are introduced on the floor of the House or Senate. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed.

S.1418 – A bill to amend title 28, United States Code, to provide an Inspector General for the judicial branch, and for other purposes, Congress.gov (click on “Text’) (last accessed May 28, 2015 at 11:08 AM Central Time).

Although the bill is generally unavailable, I received a copy and I have read it. With respect, I don’t favor the Senator’s bill. But given the federal judiciary’s lack of transparency in many areas, I understand the Senator’s motivation for introducing it. Nonetheless, I don’t like the blunderbuss approach when other more targeted tactics would work just as well or better. Additionally, the law of unintended consequences is always a concern (at least in the abstract).

The foregoing stated, if S.1418 ever passes, the world will probably keep spinning just fine. From time to time it may cause heartburn for federal judges, but that’s why God made Tums®.

RGK

 

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