Summary and Analysis
Section XII: Judiciary:
Federalist No. 79 (Hamilton)
Nothing contributed more to the independence of judges than a "fixed provision for their support." Hamilton repeated here what he had said in regard to the executive, that "in the general course of human nature, a power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power over his will." The Constitution therefore wisely proposed that the salaries of federal judges could "not be diminished during their continuance in office," though they might be increased at the discretion of Congress.
There should be no provision for removing judges because of alleged "inability," except in cases of insanity. Nor should there be any mandatory age for retirement. Older and more experienced judges were very often the better ones
In arguing that the independence of judges could only be assured by making a fixed provision for their support, Hamilton made a profound and realistic social observation: "In the general course of human nature, a power over a man's subsistence amounts to a power over his will." This is as true of private as of public life.