28 U.S. Code § 671 - Clerk
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(a) The Supreme Court may appoint and fix the compensation of a clerk and one or more deputy clerks. The clerk shall be subject to removal by the Court. Deputy clerks shall be subject to removal by the clerk with the approval of the Court or the Chief Justice of the United States.
(c) The clerk may appoint and fix the compensation of necessary assistants and messengers with the approval of the Chief Justice of the United States.
Source(June 25, 1948, ch. 646, 62 Stat. 918; Pub. L. 88–279, § 1,Mar. 10, 1964, 78 Stat. 158; Pub. L. 92–310, title II, § 206(c),June 6, 1972, 86 Stat. 203.)
Historical and Revision Notes
Based on title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., §§ 325, 326, 327, 541 and 542 (Feb. 22, 1875, ch. 95, §§ 2, 3,18 Stat. 333; Mar. 3, 1883, ch. 143, 22 Stat. 631; Mar. 15, 1898, ch. 68, § 8,30 Stat. 317; Mar. 3, 1911, ch. 231, §§ 219, 220, 221, 291,36 Stat. 1152, 1153, 1167; June 10, 1921, ch. 18, § 304,42 Stat. 24).
This section consolidates sections 541 and 542 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., with parts of sections 325, 326 and 327 of such title.
The provisions in said section 325 relating to appointment of a marshal and reporter are incorporated in sections 672 and 673 of this title.
The provisions in section 327 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., relating to duties and liabilities of the clerk’s deputies are incorporated in section 954 of this title.
The provision of section 326 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., that a duly certified copy of the clerk’s bond should be competent evidence in any court, is incorporated in section 1737 of this title.
The provision that the clerk shall be subject to removal by the Court is new. Section 327 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., contained a similar provision as to deputies, but fixed no term of office for the clerk and made no provision for his removal. The Supreme Court held, in 1839, that a district judge had power to remove his clerk at pleasure in absence of any law fixing the clerk’s tenure. In re Hennen, 38 U.S. 230, 13 Pet. 230, 10 L.Ed. 138. (See, also Myers v. U.S., 1926, 47 S.Ct. 21, 272 U.S. 52, 71 L.Ed. 160.)
The provision in section 326 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., that the clerk’s bond be not less than $5,000 and not more than $20,000 was omitted. The Supreme Court should have wide discretion in such administrative matters. (See Hearings before Appropriations Committee, House of Representatives, 78th Cong., 2d sess., on Judiciary Appropriation Bill for 1945, page 102.)
A provision of section 326 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., that a renewed or augmented bond should be required upon the Attorney General’s motion and after thirty days’ notice was omitted. The manner of requiring such bond is left to the Court’s discretion by the revised section.
A further provision of section 326 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., that the failure to furnish such renewed or augmented bond should vacate the clerk’s office was omitted as unnecessary, since the clerk is removable by the Court under this section.
The references in section 541 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., to return “under oath” to be made “on the 1st day of January of each year, or thirty days thereafter” and “on a form prescribed by the Attorney General”, were omitted as fully covered by the revised language “annual returns” under “regulations prescribed by the Court”. Verification seems unnecessary especially as clerks of the courts of appeals are not required to submit similar returns under oath (see section 711 of this title). “Court” was substituted for “Attorney General”, since the latter’s powers and functions in court administrative matters have been transferred to the Director of the Administration Office of the United States Courts. (See sections 604 and 607 of this title.) The Director, however, exercises no authority in Supreme Court matters.
Section 542 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., provided that the clerk “shall not retain”, out of fees received, more than $6,000 annually above clerk hire and expenses; that the surplus should be paid into the Treasury. Such indirect and unusual provision is simplified in this section by providing that his salary shall be fixed by the Court. Such salary limitation is omitted as inconsistent with larger salaries paid other clerks of courts.
The provisions that the Court shall fix the compensation of deputy clerks, and that the clerk shall fix the compensation of assistants and messengers with the approval of the Chief Justice, are new. Current appropriation Acts providing that the compensation of officers and employees of the Supreme Court, other than clerk and reporter shall be fixed by the court, unnecessarily burden the court with administrative details. Provision for allowance and approval of payments of compensation and office expenses by the clerk upon allowance and approval by the Chief Justice, instead of by the Court, was inserted with the approval of the Judicial Conference Committee on Revision of the Judicial Code as not inconsistent with section 542 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed.
References in sections 541 and 542 of title 28, U.S.C., 1940 ed., to certification of expenses by the justices and for audit and allowances by the General Accounting Office, were omitted as unnecessary in view of this section.
Changes were made in phraseology.
1972—Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 92–310repealed subsec. (b) which related to bond of Clerk of Supreme Court.
1964—Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 88–279struck out provision for disbursement by clerk of compensation of clerk, his deputies, assistants, and messengers and the necessary expenses of office from the fees collected by clerk, upon allowance and approval by Chief Justice of the United States.
Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 88–279substituted “moneys collected by him” for “emoluments of his office over and above his lawful disbursements”.
Effective Date of 1964 Amendment
Pub. L. 88–279, § 4,Mar. 10, 1964, 78 Stat. 158, provided that: “The amendments proposed in this Act [amending this section and section 672 of this title] shall become effective only when funds have been appropriated and are available to pay the salaries and other expenses of the clerk’s office.”