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In Re:

H.R. 11738

Page 2
February 25, 1976
The Honorable David N. Henderson

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 ...)

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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

69-504 0.76 - 4

In Re:

H.R. 11738

Page 3
February 25, 1976
The Honorable David N. Henderson

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

In Re:

H.R. 11738

Page 4
February 25, 1976
The Honorable David N. Henderson

of the Congress affecting my own situation except, of course, infringement of any vested right that I may have.

I would seriously suggest to the Committee that to avoid any further complications as it is with Judges Bennett and Gasch, and should the Congress adopt a new policy from that which has been in effect for many years, that it be prospective and not retroactive affecting already vested rights. On the other hand, I would urge that, in the interest of justice and fairness, the problem which brought on the difficulty which triggered the introduction of the Bill be met as a continuing policy of deferred annuity as long as the justice or judge is in regular active service. Then those who had prior service in the Federal government would be brought into compliance with the policy that has continuously existed for years applicable to all judges.

Mr. Chairman, I am confident that the Congress would not want to penalize its own members by deprivation of a right and entitlement earned from member service after having contributed to the program and meeting every requirement of the law from participating after reaching the required status of retirement from regular active service simply because he accepts an appointment for service in the capacity of a Federal Judge as provided by Article III of the Constitution. Every other member, on separation from service as a member of Congress, may engage in any activity he desires outside of government service and be eligible to participate by receiving annuity payments from his member service in this institution.

I am persuaded, Mr. Chairman, that when the Congress adopted the congressional retirement program, and I was a member of Congress at that time, it had in mind that when a person reached the age of 70 or thereabout, the ability and capacity for further service would decline. As you well know, in regular Civil Service employment with the Federal government mandatory retirement is provided at age 70.

I am enclosing copies of the documents to which I have referred above for information of your Committee.

I can hardly believe that it has been now more than 10 years

In Re:

H.R. 11738

Page 5
February 20, 1976
The Honorable David N. Henderson

since I enjoyed the pleasant and warm association in the House of Representatives.

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Oren Harris
District Judge

United Stalcs District Court
Eastern & Plestern Districts of Arkansas

31. 0. Lox 1733
El Dorado, Arkansas 71730

January 15, 1976.

The Honorable Gerald R. Ford
The President
The White House
Washington, D. C. 20500

My Dear Mr. President:

This is to advise that I will assume the status of Senior United States District Judge, by retirement from regular active service, on February 3, 1976. At that time, I will have had ten years of continuous service as Judge of the Eastern and Western Districts of Arkansas. I have already attained the age of seventy-two years.

I am taking this particular method of retirement from regular active service pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 371(b). I expect to retain my office and personnel, as it is my intention to continue my service with the Federal Judiciary as a Senior Judge. It is obvious that, in due time, I will be unable to perform fully the heavy responsibilities of an active Judge. Respectfully, I would like to urge, Mr. President, that immediate action be taken for the appointment of my successor after February 3, 1975. We have very heavy dockets in our State and, particularly, in the Eastern District, where most of my time is required.

Please accept my personal best wishes and high esteem.

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