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Saturday, April 12, 2008

NY Post Editorial on Judges' Pay Lawsuit

JUDGES SUE FOR RAISES . . .

April 12, 2008 -- For three years now, New York's chief judge, Judith Kaye, has been demand ing pay raises for all 1,300 of her robed colleagues. They haven't had a salary hike since 1999.
Problem is, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver won't OK a pay raise for them unless his members get one, too.

So what's Judge Kaye gone and done? Why, just what you'd expect a lawyer to do: She's hired her own high-powered attorney - former White House counsel Bernard Nussbaum - and sued. Now, we realize that 15 years in Albany likely has made even Justice Kaye oblivious to the inherent conflict of interest here, but how can any judge be expected to preside dispassionately over such a case when his or her own paycheck is riding on the outcome?

Answer: Lawyers, who craft loopholes for a living, have concocted something called the "rule of necessity," which authorizes trial judges to hear cases affecting their own interests. Convenient, no? But what happens if this case winds up before Kaye's own Court of Appeals, the state's top tribunal?

As the named plaintiff, can she pull a super rule of necessity out of some dusty law book and decide the appeal - maybe all by herself? Or would she have to recuse herself - and let her colleagues on the high court decide whether whopping raises for themselves are permissible under the ordinary rule? What Judge Kaye really wants is lawmakers' refusal to grant raises declared unconstitutional. (She can't actually force the Legislature to grant raises, of course; you know, separation of powers, and all that.)

Basically, she wants a judge to order the state (whatever that is under her rule of necessity) simply to bypass the Legislature and start writing checks for the increased pay - to $169,300, a 20 percent hike, retroactive to 2005 - on its own. As it happens, Judge Kaye's financial arguments are not entirely without merit: State judges probably do deserve raises - most of them, anyway. But, again, those salary hikes have been held hostage to Albany politics. Just like a lot of other worthy public-policy goals - tort reform and tax relief, to cite just two.

Maybe Kaye can conjure a "rule of necessity" to deal with them, too. No? Didn't think so. Bottom line: Judges who feel they can't live on their current pay are free to quit. Why should they be exempt from Albany's continuing dysfunction?

13 comments:

a taxpayer said...

this is yet another example of lawyers behaving badly. What have these clowns done to warrant a pay raise? Think about it, really what have they done???????????????????

Anonymous said...

Now that the Office Of Court Administration is a plaintiff in an action....their case can be treated as those where they are defendant...stall, delay, ignore and manipulate for about 4-5 yrs...a perfect time for teaching them about their corrupt selves and an example to show them the financial devastion they have caused all of those in suit with this money grubbing judiciary!

former judge said...

Talk about frivolous lawsuits.........

Definition- FRIVOLOUS: (1) lacking in intellectual substance and not worth serious consideration; (2) silly and trival.

The plaintiffs should be sanctioned, and reported to the bar!

Anonymous said...

Bring in the feds..... Arrest the corrupt state employees, even if they are judges!!

Anonymous said...

This is a complete meltdown of law and order. I agree, only the federal government can save the state of new york at this point.

fuming from flushing said...

I am embarrassed and horrified as to the disgusting and sorry state of affairs of New York. Our political leaders should be ashamed of themselves.

an honest attorney said...

too many times to count I have appeared before before some of these tin horn judges and gotten screwed because someone had juice. The law was of no concern and my client got screwed even though he/she was right. At first I complained and was told to shutup or I would be sanctioned or worst. The intimidation factor works since they know you have to make a living. So much for our Justice system or lack there of.
All of these Judges hold licenses to practice law as a result of this suit that Judge Kaye and all the other Judges filed they should all be sanctioned and then their licenses to practice law should be pulled. How do you like them apples Judy baby.

pissed off said...

this Ho Kaye has some balls, screw her and the horse she rode in on!!!!!!! This fat ass Ho belongs in the hoosegow with the rest of the criminals!!!!!!!

albany lawyer said...

Kaye must be disbarred - take away her license to be an attorney.

Anonymous said...

Whose paying for this lawsuit? If it the OCA, or Kaye's office, they are in violation of their Constitutional and legal authority. Kaye's job is to run the courts. She has already overstepped her authority with all these committee's and hearings she runs. She needs to check her job description it does not include lobbying or suing the government.

And who is presiding over this case? If it is a judge, isn't that a conflict of interest as he has a vested interest in the outcome? Doesn't that violate Judicial Ethics? Or is this just a silly question?

Anonymous said...

Isn't it time for her to retire? What happend with that?

Anonymous said...

I think this is a reasonable solution.

Let a Federally monitored, OPEN commission on judicial conduct re-open complaints against judges.

Then we can give a raise to those judges who are doing their job fairly, and replace those judges that are abusing their power.

Giving raises to the judges who are already making extra money with bribes is not acceptable.

Kaye should fire the CJC and start clean.

Anonymous said...

Many judges that I know work only 3-4 hrs per day, USUALLY 4 DAYS a week. Some actually take off days, weeks and months at a time! The work they do during their time at work is actually performed by law clerks and office and court support staff..so those few hours are a breeze! Not bad..an over 6 figure paycheck for part time work. This is why they aren't really screaming like hell..they found a good solution to no raises... an easy partial work day and week with a great salary. So, if Kaye wants to sue for more..they surely won't be working more, because this has been a habit for many years and they have gotten over on the NY taxpayer once again! Who tells them they "have" to work 7 hrs a day 5 days a week...NO ONE!

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