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Hatch Would Face Constitutional Dilemma If Nominated For High Court With AM-Powell Bjt

June 26, 1987

WASHINGTON (AP) _ Sen. Orrin G. Hatch would face a major constitutional dilemma if President Reagan nominated him for the Supreme Court, but there is a chance that his congressional colleagues could bail him out.

The Constitution says that no member of Congress, during the term for which he was elected, shall be named to any office where the pay has been raised.

In February, while Hatch was serving, Congress gave judges a $6,000 salary increase to $110,000 a year.

A similar dilemma confronted former Republican Sen. William Saxbe of Ohio in 1973 when he was nominated as attorney general.

During Saxbe’s term, Congress raised the salary of the attorney general from $35,000 to $60,000. But to help Saxbe, Congress in December 1973 passed legislation to roll back the salary to $35,000.

In the case of the Supreme court, however, there’s another hitch. The Constitution says a judge’s compensation should not be diminished.

If Hatch is nominated, Congressional legal scholars must figure out how to get around that problem.

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