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SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE
UNITED STATES SENATE
H. R. 9203
MAKING APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
YEAR ENDING JUNE 30, 1955, AND
FOR OTHER PURPOSES
is, Congress, Senate.
Printed for the use of the Committee on Appropriations
SUBCOMMITTEE OF THE COMMITTEE ON APPROPRIATIONS
KARL E. MUNDT, South Dakota, Chairman STYLES BRIDGES, New Hampshire
ALLEN J. ELLENDER, Louisiana LEVERETT SALTONSTALL, Massachusetts DENNIS CHAVEZ, New Mexico MARGARET CHASE SMITH, Maine
BURNET R. MAYBANK, South Carolina EVERARD H. SMITH, Clerk
UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C.
UNITED STATES CUSTOMS COURT
STATEMENT OF HON. IRVIN C. MOLLISON, JUDGE, UNITED
STATES CUSTOMS COURT, ACCOMPANIED BY WILLIAM F. X.
AMENDMENT AND JUSTIFICATION
Senator MUNDT. The committee will come to order.
We will make the amendment requested and the justification a part of the record. (The material referred to follows:)
ADMINISTRATIVE OFFICE OF THE
UNITED STATES COURTS,
SUPREME COURT BUILDING,
Washington 13, D. C., May 27, 1954. DEAR SENATOR Mundt: I would respectfully request that the following changes be made in the appropriations for the judiciary contained in the bill for the Legislative-Judiciary Appropriation Act for 1955 XX. R. 9203) as printed in the House, and that your subcommittee grant a hearing on the provisions involved.
The United States Customs Court like the two other special courts, the United States Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, and the United States Court of Claims, is empowered to approve its estimates (28 U. S. C. 605). That court requests an increase in the appropriation for salaries and expenses of the court contained in the bill as passed by the House and submits the following justification which I trust your subcommittee will consider.
Salaries and expenses, customs court
(House hearings, pp. 90-106) Estimate 1955...
$580, 630 Appropriation, 1954.
488, 000 House allowance (reduction of $80,630)---
Page 25, line 14, strike out "$500,000” and insert in lieu thereof “$572,030”, or an increase of $72,030.
HOUSE REPORT (PP. 6–7) “The amount recommended for the customs court includes funds for air conditioning of the chambers of the eight judges, the court library, the office of the clerk of the court, and the office of the marshal. In view of the nature of the space occupied by this court in New York City, air conditioning of this space is essential to the proper functioning of this organization.'
JUSTIFICATION When the proposed appropriation for the United States Customs Court was considered by the Appropriations Committee of the House of Representatives that committee disallowed the sum of $80,630. The report submitted by the House committee does not identify any part of the amount disallowed. Therefore, an analysis of the appropriation approved by the House committee shows that the disallowance was apparently arrived at by the deduction of $3,330 for automatic increments for personnel; $300 for transportation of things; $1,000 for penalty mail; $500 for communication services; $1,000 for printing and reproduction; $60,000 for contractual services; $13,000 for air conditioning; and $1,500 under equipment.
In an effort to effectuate further savings in the proposed appropriation for 1955, the judges of the United States Customs Court held a special court meeting on May 24 and adopted the following recommendations:
1. That the Senate reconsider the action taken by the Committee on Appropriations of the House and restore to the proposed appropriation of the Customs Court the sum of $3,330 requested for the purpose of within-grade advancements in salary to personnel which fall due during the fiscal year 1955. The sum of $3,330 was included in the proposed appropriation for the fiscal year 1955 so as to comply with the requirements of the statute covering automatic increments of salaries to civil-service personnel. After recomputing the allowances required to provide the within-grade advancements for present personnel, the court feels that this sum is the minimum amount which should be made available and therefore renews its request that such allowance be restored to the proposed appropriation.
2. The proposed appropriation for the "Transportation of things” for the fiscal year 1955 was increased to the extent of $300 because of the greater volume of litigation now being filed with the court. In view of the fact that the caseload of the court is steadily increasing it was believed that this sum would be necessary to transport the additional exhibits, court records, and other files to the various ports of hearing throughout the United States and its possessions during the fiscal year 1955. Toward the end of endeavoring to economize in every way, the court decided to try to absorb this $300 and limit their appropriation for the item “Transportation of things” to the $1,500 allowed for the fiscal year 1954.
3. In disallowing the sum of $1,500 requested for “Communication services" it is the belief of the court that possibly the Appropriations Committee of the House overlooked the fact that the Customs Court, like other Government agencies, is now required to pay for its use of the mails as provided for in Public Law 286, approved August 15, 1953. The court desires to point out here that this is the first year the penalty-mail item has been specifically included in its appropriation. Based upon the court's experience it was believed that the sum of $1,000 should be set aside to meet the postal charges arising out of greater volume of mail created by increased litigation. The remaining $500 disallowed under the item of “Communication services” was included by the court to cover the greater use of telephone facilities and the proposed increase in rates for telephone services. After further study of costs covering mail charges and telephone services, the court decided to reduce the allowance set aside for postal charges as required under Public Law 286 from $1,000 to $500 and to limit the use of additional telephone facilities to the expenditure of $250 instead of $500. Therefore, the court is reducing its proposed appropriation under“Communication services” from $1,500 to $750.
4. Under the heading of “Printing and reproduction,” the court originally applied for an additional sum of $1,000. The court believes it may be able to change office procedures to the end that the sum of $500 would be sufficient to meet the needs of printing and reproduction for the fiscal year 1955. This change will require some experimentation in the use of forms which it hopes will prove satisfactory. Therefore, the court requests the Senate Appropriations Committee to restore the sum of $500 to the court's proposed appropriation for the fiscal year 1955.
5. Under the heading of “Contractual services," the court applied for the preparation, printing, and binding of a digest of its decisions for the sum of $60,000, which was the best estimate obtained for this project. The Customs Court is seriously hampered in legal research because there is no customs law digest of the approximately 4,000 or more customs decisions contained in the court's 30 or more customs law report volumes. In respect to the court's lack of a digest, the situation is growing steadily worse and is being further aggravated by the regular addition of two volumes of customs decisions each year. As a consequence of the annual addition of two volumes to the 30 volumes now in existence, the initial cost of a customs law digest grows progressively greater.
In the proposed appropriation for the fiscal year 1954, the court requested the Congress to provide the sum of $60,000 for the purpose of obtaining by contract the editing, compilation, preparation, and binding of a digest of customs decisions. At the hearings before the subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee having charge of the judicial appropriations, it was suggested to representatives of the court that a further survey be made for the purpose of determining whether or not the editorial work for the customs digest desired by the court could be done by the offices of the Library of Congress. As a result thereof, the Congress eliminated the digest item from the proposed appropriation of the Customs Court for 1954. Further, the legislative-judiciary subcommittee of the House Committee on Appropriations recognized the value of the proposed customs law digest but recommended its deferral for another year.
See page 4, report of legislative-judiciary subcommittee of Committee on Appropriations (to accompany H. R. 5805), June 17, 1953, House of Representatives Report 598, 83d Congress, 1st session.
Since the passage of the appropriation bill, a committee of the judges of the court has been in communication with the Acting Librarian of Congress to see if the Library of Congress had any materials which would facilitate the making of a customs law digest. After some research, the Acting Librarian of Congress possessed no such material (except sets of our law reports) and that the task presented by the preparation of the digest desired would be beyond the present capacities of that agency; and the Library of Congress could not hope to divert either funds or personnel from regular Library activity for the purpose. Further, the Acting Librarian of Congress advised our court that that agency did not have available the skilled personnel which it could assign to the editing and preparation of such a customs law digest. Our court was further advised that in the opinion of the agency the editing, compilation, preparation, printing, and binding of such a digest could more economically be done by an established law publisher
and as a consequence at less cost and expense to the Government. The court has also thoroughly explored the possibility of getting the digest job satisfactorily completed at less cost than the estimate of $60,000 submitted in the 1954 budget and it is our belief that the estimates secured are as low as could possibly be had especially in view of possible rising professional salaries, labor, and material costs.
In view of this position and the continuing urgent need for such a digest, the court is again submitting its request for the reconsideration of the Congress. Since the passage of the appropriation bill for 1954, nothing has taken place which in any way alters the necessity for such a digest as described in the justification for this item in the proposed appropriation for 1954. It is accordingly again set forth herein so that the Congress could have before it a detailed outline of the necessity for the customs digest and the method of obtaining its realization.
The judges of the Customs Court are seriously handicapped in the performance of their judicial duties in preparing written opinions (as required by statute) by the lack of a modern and comprehensive digest of the entire field of customs law which would include and reflect the principles of customs law found in the decisions of the Customs Court, the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, it predecessor, the Court of Customs Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States.
There is no law publisher's digest covering the entire field of customs law, and no digest covering or including the decisions of the Customs Court. At the present time there are 30 law report volumes, containing several thousand printed decisions of the Customs Court, none of which have been digested; and to this number there are regularly added each year 2 volumes, each containing a hundred to several hundred opinions and decisions which will have to be digested. The volumes of the Customs Court reports range in size from about 500 to 1,100 pages, and the court has estimated that there are approximately 3,500 to 4,000 or more written opinions and decisions of the Customs Court which must be digested, compiled, classified, edited, and arranged under a topical index digest plan or scheme of arrangement.