A planned congressional study of how federal judges perform their duties may be an “unwarranted and ill-considered” threat to judicial independence, Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist says.
Rehnquist noted in his year-end report for 1995 that Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, plans to send questionnaires to all federal judges, asking about the amount of time they devote to official tasks.
Grassley is chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts.
Rehnquist said he hopes “the committee’s inquiries are designed to obtain information, which is the legitimate prerogative of Congress, without trenching on judicial independence.”
Asked for his reaction, Grassley said, “The purpose of my inquiry is simply to initiate thoughtful dialogue between Congress and members of the judiciary.”