This article will deal with two major constitutional problems that have resulted from the creation of the Claims Court. The first issue is the constitutionality of the appointment of existing Court of Claims Commissioners to be judges on the Claims Court during a four-year "transition" period. By legislatively designating the persons who are to serve as judges on the new court, Congress has usurped the presidential appointment power. The second issue relates to the constitutional status of the Claims Court. The Court of Claims which it replaces was created under article III of the Constitution, and the judges on it were therefore entitled to life tenure and salaries that could not be reduced during their terms in office. The new Claims Court, on the other hand, is designated by Congress as an "article I" court; the judges are to be appointed for only fifteen year terms, and their salaries are subject to control by Congress. The new court exercises full judicial authority, however, and has jurisdiction over cases of national importance in which the government of the United States has a great financial stake. Although the analysis of this issue is far from simple, this author concludes that Congress has exceeded its constitutional authority by failing to comply with the requirements of article III of the Constitution in establishing the Claims Court.


Symposium: The Federal Courts Improvement Act: Prefatory Remark