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Salaries, Judges, and Legislators

Uncategorized // Feb 09, 2009

Federal judges say they are underpaid. The problem, in Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s words, “has now reached the level of a constitutional crisis.”

Constitutional Crisis? Really?!

Seems that everyone has to put in their fair share of loss in this economy.

Let’s see what Judges make:

Federal district judges make $169,300; federal appeals court judges, $179,500; Supreme Court justices, $208,100; and the chief justice, $217,400. There is no question that those salaries, which increased 2.5 percent last year, have dropped significantly in real terms in recent decades or that they represent a small fraction of what partners in big city law firms make.

Below is a is piece from www.e-ssay.org

Supreme Court Justice Kennedy in 2007 testified that the salaries of federal judges should be increased to provide some competition with the private sector.  He points to the substantial signing bonuses paid to former Supreme Court judicial law clerks when they go to work with wealthy law firms.  Many young law students plan to retire on the federal bench.  The power and prestige are the most significant draws.  However, the pay must be competitive or only the wealth will apply.  Raising their salaries is consistent with his request.

So should Congressional salaries also be raised?  The public is better off if the hired help is paid by the people rather than by the lobbyists.  Fifty thousand dollars a year is a cheap and prudent investment.

Arguing that Congressional salaries should be increased is never popular.  After passage of a pay raise, every candidate running against an incumbent makes a stink.  To provide political cover, a commission should be established and the findings adopted by voice vote.  Commissions provide cover.

Since this piece was written in 2007, we have obviously seen a change in the economy so raising salaries for ANYONE right now is not the best idea.  Especially every single state and local government sector in the country are running at a deficit.  The mere idea of lawmakers getting a pay increase is noxious none the less.  But hey when things are good, everyone wins right?  And when things are bad, well….



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