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et al. Glidden Company v. Zdanok

Article I And Article Iii

The Glidden Company's objection to Judge Madden's participation was based on the distinction the Constitution makes between the judicial and the legislative branches of government. The judicial branch--the Supreme Court plus the federal court system--is established in Article III of the Constitution. The legislative branch--Congress--is established in Article I.

Federal judges are appointed by the president and subject to the approval of the Senate. Under these circumstances, however, there is the question of what guarantees the independence of the judiciary. If judges are constantly worried about being fired, they may be more concerned about pleasing their employers than about rendering justice. Likewise, if judges are worried about their salaries, their decisions may be based on the wish to please rather than on their best understanding of the law.

Therefore, Article III of the U.S. Constitution builds in two important protections for federal judges:

The judges, both of the Supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behavior, and shall at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
In other words, unless a judge is guilty of "bad behavior"--judicial misconduct such as taking bribes or showing bias--that judge's job is guaranteed for life. Also, as long as that judge stays in office, his or her salary cannot be reduced. No disgruntled president or senator can threaten a federal judge with being fired or even with getting a cut in pay.

The U.S. Court of Claims is a very different type of court, and its judges work under a different system. The Court of Claims was set up in 1855 to relieve Congress from having to hear about private citizens' claims on the federal government. For example, if a widow of a veteran thought she should receive the veteran's pension, she might bring a claim against the federal government. In 1854, Congress would have had to consider that claim. In 1855, the Court of Claims could render a decision.

Congress is established by Article I of the Constitution. For that reason, the Court of Claims is considered an "Article I" court, while the Supreme Court and the federal circuit court system are considered "Article III" courts.

The Glidden Company argued that Judge Madden did not have constitutional Article III protections. Therefore, the possibility existed that he might not render as impartial a decision as an Article III judge. Theoretically, he could be threatened with the loss of his job or a cut in his pay.

In their suit, the Glidden Company never suggested that Judge Madden had not done a good job. Rather, they said that they had the right to an Article III judge. Because they had not gotten one, they considered their case invalid.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962et al. Glidden Company v. Zdanok - Significance, Management Rights Vs. Seniority, Ruling On The Judge, Article I And Article Iii