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Sunday, December 23, 2007

Washington Post Editorial: The Value of a Judge (MORE, CLICK HERE)

Washington Post Editorial

The Value of a Judge
It's more than Congress has been willing to pay.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007; A28

LAST MONTH, Judge Paul G. Cassell gave up his prestigious lifetime appointment to the U.S. District Court for the District of Utah, explaining that "two primary factors have led me to do something that I never thought possible -- leaving this important public service position." The first, Mr. Cassell explained in his resignation letter to President Bush, was the opportunity to return to academia and continue work as an advocate for victims of crime.

The second involved money. "I would be less than completely candid if I did not mention the uncertainty surrounding judicial pay as a factor in my decision," Mr. Cassell wrote. "With three talented children approaching college years, it has been difficult for my wife and me to make financial plans."

No one can seriously argue that federal trial judges' salaries of $165,200 constitute poverty wages; most households bring in considerably less and yet manage to meet their financial demands, including educating children. There's also no guarantee that a hefty raise would keep judges from bolting to the private sector, where they can dramatically increase their earnings. But federal judges have not had a pay increase for almost two decades; today, both law professors and young private-sector lawyers consistently out-earn federal judges.

The lag in judicial salaries has affected the demographics of the bench. Only 40 percent of sitting federal judges come from the private sector -- a dramatic change from the 1950s, when lawyers experienced in the real-world workings of the courts made up the majority of federal judges. In the future, as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. argued in January, it will be even more likely that only those who've already made a fortune or those who are less experienced -- and for whom a federal judicial salary constitutes a raise -- will agree to serve.

A Senate bill, scheduled for debate on Thursday, would increase by 50 percent the salaries of federal trial judges, to $247,800; other federal judges, including justices of the Supreme Court, would get commensurate raises. Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) wants to cap the pay increase at 16.5 percent.

A House bill that is scheduled to be taken up today by the Judiciary Committee has the most reasonable and defensible approach. That bill calculates what judicial salaries would have been today if judges had received regular cost-of-living adjustments since 1969. The result would be a salary of $233,500 -- or a 41 percent increase -- for a trial judge. The bill would also guarantee annual cost-of-living adjustments -- a provision that should be included even if lawmakers negotiate a different baseline salary.


Anonymous said...

And judges are even more valuable (to their OATH) when they aren't corrupt.

Anonymous said...

we have the best judges here they are all for RENT, you can't buy them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

I wonder how much Judges are charging in Orange County Goshen New York to fix Divorce and child custody cases. Maybe I should ask Judge Francis Nicolai after all he is the administrative judge of the Ninth Criminal District that includes Orange COunty.

Anonymous said...

There are some good judges out there,as someone who worked for them for 30 yrs, knows. I beleive the judicial raises (because of the nature of the position and the tremendous chance of becoming corrupt, lazy or a malingerer) should be addressed by there functioning in the position, by a panel (if no federal monitor) with absolutely NO POLITICAL INDIVIDUALS...just a few legal people and the majority as non-legal citizens and EMPLOYEES approving of who shall receive them! If their raises depended on people who ARE NOT THE CHIEF JUDGE OF NY STATE, who should stop waiving her judicial power and robe all over her corrupt enterprise, or the policical legislature or attys who pay to have these judges elected and then appear in front of them, and oh don;t forget those great x-max gifts the lawyers pass out, you will definitely see A major change in all of this described criminal and unethical etc. judicial behavior, we are so appalled and disgusted by! I have sat next to these men and women , 2 feet at most and several hours a day for many days and weeks, sometimes 14 days straight, so i believe i know how they behave, professionally and personally,including picking their ear wax....this would work! The judiciary begs for a mommy and daddy to disclipine them and thus work for the people that elected them... THE NY TAXPAYER! MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF US DESIRING TO HELP THE NY JUDICIARY BECOME THE FAIR AND HUMBLE GROUP THEY ALWAYS SHOULD HAVE BEEN!

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See Video of Senator John L. Sampson's 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption

The first hearing, held in Albany on June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:

               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
               The June 8, 2009 hearing is on two videos:
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 1
               CLICK HERE TO SEE Part 2
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