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We have, therefore, become a pretty hard worked Department. We have to work hard in order to keep abreast of this flow of business.
Our men, fortunately, seem to like to work. There is a fine morale in the Department. Overtime is a characteristic of practically every division we have, and that goes for the entire personnel, from the top to the bottom.
I sometimes think that as new duties are imposed upon the Department there should be a sharper rise in the appropriations necessary to care for them. However, we do the best we can with the means we have.
It is the only Department of the Government, as I have frequently said to this committee, which is unable to control the volume of its own business. We have to take what comes.
That situation creates problems, and they recur from year to year.
INCREASE IN PERSONNEL
For instance, the personnel increase of last year was 570, which is 6.17 percent over the previous year. That includes the following additions: Penal institutions, 113; judiciary, 128; United States attorneys and marshals, 124; and, generally, in the Department, 205; making a total of 570.
INCREASE IN AMOUNT OF FINES AND FORFEITURES
Collections of fines and forfeitures which came into the Treasury as the result of our activities, amounted to $11,690,470, which was about $3,000,000 more than last year.
TOTAL AMOUNT OF RECEIPTS AND EXPENDITURES, 1937
We estimate the total revenues of the Department to be $19,345,740. The expenditures in 1937 were $40,685,706, of which not quite 10 percent went for legal salaries.
AVERAGE SALARY OF EMPLOYEES
The salaries for the legal force, which we estimate at 922, amounted to $4,079,335. That total number of 922 includes 455 district attorneys and their assistants.
You will be interested to know what the average salaries are. The average salaries of departmental attorneys run as follows: For special attorneys and assistants, $4,800; for district attorneys, $6,203; for assistant district attorneys, of whom there were 381, the average salary was $3,541. The average salary for marshals was $4,981; and for deputy marshals, $1,758.
I think, if my recollection serves me correctly, this committee asked us for an estimate as to the salaries of United States attorneys and marshals. I am sure, and you will desire, perhaps, to take it up in detail a little later. We have the information, and we did present the matter to the Budget. What information this committee desires is available.
TURN-OVER AMONG ASSISTANT DISTRICT ATTORNEYS
There is and continues to be a substantial overturn, especially among the assistant district attorneys. They are hard to get and hard to keep-I mean, the best of them.
The salaries are such as to entice only the younger men who, as they come along, find they can get into something more lucrative, and they then pass out of the Government service.
ADEQUACY OF SALARIES OF DEPUTY MARSHALS
You will note that the average salary for deputy marshals is $1,758. Whether that is an adequate salary for a man with a family is for this committee to say.
Mr. TARVER. There was some substantial increase for the present fiscal year in the salaries of deputy marshals, was there not, Mr. Attorney General?
Mr. CUMMINGS. There was some increase in the deputy marshals' salaries. There was a bill which passed, but which I think was vetoed, dealing with the question of how much the salaries should be.
My recollection is that this committee allotted us some additional money to readjust the salaries of deputy marshals and clerks of courts in the lower brackets, because they were cruelly underpaid. As to how that money was distributed and how we handled the situation, Mr. Quinn, Mr. Andretta, and others can give you the full details.
INCREASE OF INCOMING AND OUTGOING MAIL
Another check on the growth of business might be described in this way: Taking the mail figures, we find that the amount of incoming mail was 4 percent more than it was in 1936, and the amount of outgoing mail was 7 percent over that of 1936.
Taking the year 1932, which was supposed to be a peak year, the amount of incoming mail is 62.1 percent over that of 1932, and the amount of outgoing mail is 90.6 percent over that of 1932.
Mr. Andretta has prepared a chart which graphically describes the growth from time to time over a period of years of the amount of incoming and outgoing mail.
So much, in a general way, for the Department.
VOLUME OF BUSINESS REFLECTED IN EXPENDITURES
There is another observation that I think perhaps I ought to make, because it more or less draws the matter into prespective. An additional chart has been prepared by Mr. Quinn and Mr. Andretta showing graphically the volume of business as reflected in expenditures over a period of years, breaking it down into four groups. The first is penal institutions; the second, the judiciary and the courts; the third, the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the fourth is the Department as such, if I may use that phrase.
If you will look at that chart, you will be at once impressed, as I am, with the fact that the growth of the penal institutions and the growth of the judiciary are the chief items in the cost of operating the Department of Justice.
Neither one of those items is within our control, in a certain sense at least. Certainly, the judiciary expenditures are matters with which we have little to do, except to arrange for them through our budget.
There are a certain number of judges and a certain number of clerks, and certain court expenditures. They have to be paid, and theso matters are all in our budget, as you, of course, know.
JUDICIARY SHOULD HAVE ITS OWN BUDGET
I have thought for some considerable time that the judiciary ought to have a budget of its own. It would certainly relieve us of a good deal of a burden of administration, and it would draw the picture back more in perspective.
Moreover, there is nothing, to my mind, inherently more illogical than a set-up that requires the Department of Justice to have anything to do with the judiciary in the sense of controlling anything that goes on in the judiciary.
I think that the judiciary is an independent and coordinate branch of the Government, and should be so regarded and so treated, and yet, from time immemorial, the judicial budget has been under our budget.
Of course, perhaps that was the only way, because the judiciary has no adequate machinery for handling its budget and its disbursements.
But it is a disagreeable task for us to have to oversee the expenditures of judges, check them up, and look after the clerks of courts and see that they do not misplace a penny here, there, and the other place.
For a long time I have thought that the rational solution of that problem was to let the judiciary run its own budget, and I still think so.
JUDICIARY SHOULD HAVE ADMINISTRATIVE MACHINERY
• Mr. Bacon. You would have to have some kind of machinery in Washington for its control, would you not?
Mr. CUMMINGS. Certainly. I think there should be authority for the judiciary to set up administrative machinery of its own. There are so many advantages in that arrangement, in addition to the one I have mentioned, that if I started talking about it it would take quite a long while.
For instance, under our arrangement, and as a courtesy to the judiciary—I think it amounts to hardly more than that-we assemble with painstaking care the records of the courts, showing the number of cases they have and the number they dispose of.
It is a unique thing, really, for the Attorney General to have to go before the Judicial Conference and tell the Judicial Conference what the business of the courts has been. It has always seemed to me that the judges ought to know without the Department of Justice telling them, and the only way they would know would be by having the administrative machinery so that they could collect their own statistics, so that they would be in a position to speak with authority to delinquent judges.
For instance, if you have judges in some spots who are very dilatory in the rendering of decisions, with incident delays in the court procedure, what do we do about it? Just literally nothing. If the Attorney General should say to a judge, "Hurry up your work,” he would think he was being insulted. So I keep very clear of anything of that kind.
But if the courts themselves should have adequate administrative machinery and could know for themselves where the work was being clogged in various parts of the country, then that machinery, acting under the United States Supreme Court, which, of course, would normally be the head of it all, could apply the proper pressure and be received with the proper respect.
However, that is aside from our problems, and I apologize for bringing it in here, except that it came to my mind, in view of the fact that here we have the budget of the judiciary as part of our budget.
We carry that burden, and will carry it as long as the present anomalous condition prevails, but when we have wit, ingenuity, and progressiveness enough to get a better system, perhaps we will be relieved of that responsibility, and I shall look upon our relief from that part of it with great complacency, to say the least.
Mr. McMillan. I think your remarks are very pertinent at this time, Mr. Attorney General.
Mr. CUMMINGS. Incidentally, I may say, that many of the judges feel just as I do about it. There has been, of late, some considerable agitation amongst them as to whether they should not take more responsibility for the operation of their own machine than they now assume, and there is in preparation, and possibly already has been introduced, a bill that I think Judge Manton has recommended. I do not know exactly what the status of it is; but he is one of the judges who is very keen for a separate budget.
Of course, many people thought that it would offend the Attorney General if it were suggested. But when he came to me and spoke to me about it I said, "God speed you. It is all right with me.
I am one of those unique public officials who is not seeking for more authority, but would prefer less.
Mr. MCMILLAN. Do you believe it would be necessary to have some legislation passed authorizing such a procedure?
Mr. CUMMINGS. I think undoubtedly there would have to be some legislation. As I would visualize it there should be some administrative machinery authorized by law, the personnel of which should be appointed by and under the direction of the United States Supreme Court, with that machinery headed by some proper administrative official who could be constantly examining into the state of the business of the courts throughout the country, finding out what the state of business is in one place and in another place, whether the courts are reasonably up to date in their dockets in a certain city, or whether, for some reason they have fallen behind, and recommending better methods of procedure, recommending to the Chief Justice that where the courts are in arrears another judge should be assigned to go in there and clear up the business.
CENTRALIZED ADMINISTRATION OF COURTS NECESSARY
If we are ever going to have an effective Federal judiciary we have got to have a more centralized administration and a greater degree of flexibility:
There is not a successful business in the world that could have succeeded under the system that the judiciary now has.
Mr. Bacon. You are really a prosecuting officer who appears before the courts, and yet you control them.
Mr. CUMMINGS. In a certain sense, yes; and there you are.
I have been supposed to be somewhat critical of the courts, but I am not unduly so. What I am trying to do is to help improve a situation that just cries out for remedy. I think that the criteria are, first of all, independence of the judiciary; second, that they should run their own machinery; and, third, that they should have the means with which to do it.
Within those limits there lies the possibility of a very well thought out and effective scheme.
Mr. McMILLAN. The committee is very glad to have your views on that subject.
Mr. CUMMINGS. I am very glad to express them.
I am somewhat of a zealot on the question of judicial reform. I see how things go, but I cannot do much of anything about it, except to urge its consideration.
RESULTS OF DELAY IN ADMINISTRATION OF JUSTICE
Delay in the administration of justice is the crying defect of our judicial system. Everybody knows it. You do not have to prove it.
A man knows, when he starts a case in court, that very likely he has embarked upon a life-long adventure.
We have cases on dockets that have laid there for years and years. A case came to my attention a while ago, which was a very simple matter, but it was held by one judge for almost 272 years after it was submitted before he rendered a decision. He then rendered a decision to the effect that the record was in such a state that the case would have to be tried again.
If that were a solitary instance, it would not so much matter, but every docket that we have shows cases on it that have been there for years.
Mr. TARVER. Ought there not to be some way to remove a judge for something of that sort, without having to charge him with and proving him guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors? Mr. CUMMINGS. I suppose so.
I think we have really outgrown the ancient method of impeachment, but what to do about it is the question. It is not so clear whether a satisfactory machinery could be devised that could be put into effect by congressional enactment. It might possibly require a constitutional amendment, but that is a disputed question.
But it is rather absurd that the whole machinery of the Government has to stop while we try at great length elaborate charges against judges. There ought to be some simpler way.
On the other hand, we ought to be careful about what we do. We should not attempt to set up a form of procedure that would be resorted to without adequate reason or one which might become oppressive in character. It is a difficult problem.
What I was aiming at was a better administration of the machinery we have. If you cut out of our budget the judiciary and the courts and you cut out the penal institutions-I am not suggesting that they should be cut out, that is, the penal institutions, or even the judiciary under the present situation-but I mean if they were not factors, what would remain would be a relatively simple problem in the matter of dollars and cents.