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This is the reply pronised you on February 14 in the interest of the Honorable Homer Thornberry, regarding his right under the Civil Service Retirement Law.
Judge Thornberry teminated his service as a Member on December 20, 1963. His military and civilian service totals 18 years, 6 months, 13 days. As pointed out in prior correspondence, the only annuity benefit payable 18 one effective from January 9, 1969, the Judge's 60th birthday.
assuring his appointment as a "Judge of the United States" is as de. fined in 28 USC 451, Judge Thornberry can apply for civil service annuity now and we will suspend payment for the benefit until he "retires" under the judicial retirement provisions or otherwise se-, parates from his office as judge. If his death should occur prior to his filing for annuity and he is survived by his present wife, she will be entitled to survivor annuity.
Tentative monthly annuity rates payable on total service in this case
Life rate, effective January 1969....
Increased 3.9% effective March 1, 1969...
Reduced with Benefit to Widow
To annuita nt....
$803 $834 $477 $496
Tentative monthly annuity rates payable without credit for military service are:
Life rate, effective January 9, 1969..
Reduced with Benefit to Widow
$652 $677 $385 $400
If I can furnish further information, do not hesitate to contact me.
Andrew E. Ruddock
Honorable Homer Thornberry
[ ( EX H I BIT Cl
The Civil Service Commission informed us that you can apply for
Based on the current provisions of law, a comparison of the annuity
through the use of all of your service under the Judicial Survivors
It would not seem advantageous for you to apply for Civil Service annuity at this time in order to afford your widow maximum annuity benefits. Since you may defer applying for annuity and your present wife will be entitled to survivor annuity in the event your death should occur before filing for annuity, it would appear reasonable to delay applying for Civil Service annuity until payment for such benefit can actually be made to you. You may then wish to reevaluate the benefits under the Judicial Survivors Annuity System, especially in connection with the use of your military service in computing your widow's annuity.
I have a copy of your letter', dated February 10, 1976, to
I received a Certificate from the Civil Service Commission that my application for retirement had been approved. I received a letter from Mr. George A. Babel, Chief of Section, Bureau of Retirement and Insurance, dated February 18, 1966, that pursuant to law they would discontinue payment of annuity until my separation by retirement.
In order that there would be no misunderstanding, I directed a letter to Mr. Babel on March 1, 1966, requesting additional information as to my status, not only as to my annuity rights, but survivor rights to my spouse. I received a letter from the Civil Service Commission, signed by Mr. Richard M. Cody, Technical Advisor, dated March 17, 1966, advising that should I "become inactive either by disability or retirement as a Federal Judge", I would be eligible to receive both my Civil Service Retirement Annuity and my retirement "salary" under the Judicial Retirement provisions. I was further advised that any retirement rights as a judge or concerning my participation in the Judicial Survivor Annuity System should be directed to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. In 1972, some question was raised or inquiry made regarding my Judicial Survivors Annuity participation in the Judicial Survivors Annuity System. I made inquiry as to the status with the Administrative Office of the United States Courts in Washington. On April 6, 1972, I was advised by Mr. Edward V. Garabedian, Assistant Chief of Finance and Business Administration that, in filing my application with the Civil Service Commission on separation from the Congress for retirement, I elected a reduced annuity with benefit to widow. Also, I was advised that my annuity was suspended in view of my appointment as an United States District Judge. Further, I was advised that when I "obtained senior status (by judicial retirement) my annuity payments will commence". Whether or not I perform any active service as a senior judge would not affect the payment of the annuity under the Civil Service Retirement System.
I concluded 10 years of service as a judge on February 3, 1976. I attained the age of 72 years December 20, 1975. Having met the requirement, I was eligible to take retirement status as provided by 28 U.S.C. § 371(b). (Any justice or judge may retain his office but retire from "regular active service" after attaining the age of 70 years and after serving at least 10 years continuously ....)
On January 15, 1976, I directed a letter to the President advising that I would assume the status of Senior United States District Judge by retirement from regular active service on February 3, 1976. The President cordially acknowledged my notification of retirement. The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has been advised and so has the Administrative office of the United States
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Courts, the Chief Judge of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and our two Senators. On assuming senior status, February 3, the Chief Judge of the Eighth Circuit entered designation for me to serve the Districts in Arkansas on such assignments that I would accept as a senior judge. I have also received notification of personnel action from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts stating "Retirement under Title 28, U.S.C., Section 371(b)".
On January 21, 1976, I directed a letter to the Honorable Thomas A. Tinsley, Director, Bureau of Retirement, Insurance and Occupational Health, advising him that I would assume the status of Senior United States District Judge by retirement from regular active service effective February 3, 1976. I requested that my annuity payments for my congressional service, pursuant to my retirement as determined and approved February 2, 1966, be effectuated. I requested that I be advised if there was any further action necessary on my part.
It was after the above development and the request for annuity payments that I learned a Bill had been introduced that had for its purpose to deny payments to a former member who had served as a judge or justice of the United States Courts. I was unaware that any problem had developed or that the position of the Civil Service Commission had been challenged. Subsequently, I learned that the problem arose due to the claims of Judges Marion T. Bennett and Oliver Gasch, former civil servant employees without congressional service. I understand further that the problem concerns insistence of these two judges that they are entitled to Civil Service annuity after meeting the requirements of the Act even though they continue regular active service as a judge. This seems to me an altogether different problem than my situation, which is a vested right and entitlement to receive annuity under the law after retirement as a regular active judge. I should like to emphasize there is a distinction applicable to judges who retire under the law and the problem referred to that brought on the proposed legislation. I refer you to Notes of Decisions, Title 5, § 8344 of the United States Code Annot., p. 590, where it is stated that an United States District Judge is not entitled to be paid an annuity while in regular active service as a judge.
I appreciate you giving me this opportunity to submit to you my particular situation. As you and other members of the Committee know, I have great respect for the Congress from my long service in this distinguished body. Obviously, I will respect the policy