Paul L. Caron

Friday, February 22, 2008

Pending Legislation Forces Judge Laro to Delay Assuming Directorship of USD's Graduate Tax Program

LaroLast October, I blogged the University of San Diego School of Law's appointment of Tax Court Judge David Laro as Director of its Graduate Tax Program, effective in 2008.  USD has announced that proposed federal legislation has caused Judge Laro to postpone the commencement of his duties:

“Recent congressional activity regarding retirement provisions of Federal Judges has required me to postpone the commencement of my role as Tax Director of the University of San Diego School of Law’s Graduate Tax Program. I am hopeful that Congress will act soon on pending legislation affecting Federal Judges and that the outcome of this activity will be compatible with the needs of USD and other law schools around the country. I have always enjoyed teaching at USD alongside its dedicated and talented tax faculty and supportive administration.”

“For nearly a decade, Judge Laro has taught various tax courses for USD’s tax program and will continue to do so as a member of the visiting faculty,” said University of San Diego School of Law Dean Kevin Cole. “We are hopeful that the pending legislation will conclude soon in a way that will permit him to assume the directorship role.”

The Code of Conduct for United States Judges rightly encourages judges to "write, lecture, teach, and participate in other activities concerning the law, the legal system, and the administration of justice."  It is unfortunate that the proposed pension changes are keeping a distinguished judge like David Laro from leading one of the country's premier graduate tax programs and lending his considerable talents to the education of the next generation of tax lawyers.

Most of the commentary on the proposed legislation focuses on the judicial pay and travel aspects, and not on the retirement changes -- see examples below the fold.  A couple of pieces provide limited discussion of the pension issues:

  • Legal Times:  "The bill would tax retired judges who are collecting a federal pension while earning large salaries in private jobs. ...  For every $2 they made over their salary as a federal judge, $1 would be cut from their pension. The bill would also increase senior judges' workload from three months a year to four months a year and require 17 years of service before a judge could retire with a full pension."
  • Government Executive:  "Like the House bill, the Senate measure also changes the pension schedule for federal judges, requiring that they have a combination of age and service amounting to 84 years in order to earn a full pension -- which is equal to their full pay at the time of retirement."

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