United States Court Judges & Judgeships
Just as the framers of the Constitution intended, Supreme Court Justices are nominated by the President of the United States and then approved by the Senate before taking office. Every Supreme Court judge receives a lifetime term, which can only end by impeachment, resignation, retirement or death. This protection is called judicial independence and necessary to perform the duties of a judge.
To keep judges in line with the original design for the position, they are appointed by the President and Senate, thus removing the obligation for them to have to run for election or engage in politics. They are not responsible to any one group, public entity or party, just the federal government.
Federal judges serve a lifetime term. This tenure allows them to exercise the appropriate power and authority to make decisions about court cases so that they cannot be fired or sanctioned because of their rulings. A judge’s salary is secure in that it can increase over their term but never decrease. This job security is structured to allow justices to perform their job at the highest level of propriety and impartiality.
A judgeship is an essential but influential position, and the Constitution included provisional language so that all that power would not be abused. It states that justices “ shall hold their offices during good behavior.” Although vague, it is clear what this means. Judges are expected to uphold a particular moral and ethical standard.
A couple of the ways this is laid out is that a judge cannot be personally related to any case they preside over. For example, they cannot be linked to a plaintiff or a defendant, nor can they have privileged information about the situation. No personal bias is allowed; they must remain completely independent and impartial. If a judge does possess a bias in a case, they must recuse themselves, and remove themselves completely from the proceedings.
Judges are required to take a solemn oath when appointed to office. They are expected to uphold the dignity and respect for the position and follow the “code of conduct” laid out for judges for their entire term.
One of the few ways a judge loses his judgeship is by impeachment. If the federal justice is convicted of a misdemeanor or felony, they are subject to impeachment (immediate removal from their office with no further tenure). The House of Representatives initiates an investigation into alleged crimes performed by justices. They then try the case in front of the Senate who acts as judges and jury to determine guilt or innocence. If found guilty, the justice loses his position immediately and faces criminal charges.
The term judgeship refers to the official office and jurisdiction that a federal justice holds during their term. It is primarily the domain that they have legal rule over during their life term.