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Amos T. Akerman to Lyman Trumbull, 18 February 1871

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Feb. 18, 1871. Hon. Lyman Trumbull, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senate. Sir: I beg leave to call your attention to the subject of the official compensation of the Hon. Joel C. C. Winch, Judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. He was appointed to that office last October, during the recess of the Senate, under a temporary commission. He was nominated to the Senate, and has been rejected—and will hold until the end of the present session, unless he should be superseded by another appointment, for which nomination is now before the Senate. An obstacle to the payment of his salary has been found in Sec. 2 of the Act of Feb. 9, 1863, (12 U.S. Stat. 646.) The accounting officers of the Treasury decline to pay it, on the ground that the vacancy existed while the Senate was in session last summer. The facts are these: John Appleton, of Maine, was nominated and confirmed, in May last. He declined, and has since died. I find in the office no evidence of the time when he resigned, or when the resignation was accepted, I heard of the vacancy soon after I entered this office in July last, whether before or after the adjournment of Congress, I am unable now to remember. If it were before, the pressure of business at the close of the session prevented an immediate nomination. Judge Winch has been doing the business of the office, and I believe has been holding a court ever since an early date in November last. And it seems to me right that Congress should relieve him, under these circumstances, from the operation of that stern statute—and I respectfully suggest that provision by law be made of the payment of his salary. I address a similar letter to the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee of the House. Very respectfully, &c. A. T. Akerman, Attorney General.
Salary of Judge Winch, Texas
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