Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Justices Complain to Senate About Their Pay

Required for Con Law and Internship Students

Following up on Chief Justice Roberts' complaints last week, Justice Kennedy told the Senate Judiciary Committee that the pay for federal judges is far too low. As the AP reported:
"Federal district court judges are paid $165,200 annually; appeals court judges make $175,100; associate justices of the Supreme Court earn $203,000; the chief justice gets $212,100.... Kennedy said that '$160,000 sounds like a lot of money to the average American, and it is. But it is insufficient to attract the finest members of the practicing bar to the bench.'"


the lastczarnian said...

"Kennedy picked up on an issue that Chief Justice John Roberts recently called a "constitutional crisis.""

That gave me a good laugh. A constituional crisis. C'mon. Do we really want someone on the Supreme Court who accepted the appointment becuase of the paycheck?

Anonymous said...

Kennedy has a point. Think about it, if the six-figure salary is so unappealing to prestige-driven elitists, then it will fail to attract them to the bench, leaving us poor saps stuck with nothing more than candidates who passionately want the position. Woe! Woe I say!


Anonymous said...

And heaven forbid that they (the remaining candidates) might be mere bottom-feeding scum from the ranks of us peasants--who surely by our very class and wealth (or the lackthereof) are unfit and unable to execute the office!

Anonymous said...

What gets me is this is a selective appointemnt, no one forced the justices to go to the bench. If they wanted to make big amounts of money they should have stayed in private practice. Being a federal judge or a supreme court justice means you are one for life (minus impeachment)so who would complain about that kind of job security.

Ravens Need To Pay A.D. said...

I agree with Kennedy, I think the judges should be paid more than they are currently earning.. However, as someone pointed out they are under no obligation to accept the job if they feel the salary doesn't fit the "prestige" or position.

Anonymous said...

The point that I think Kennedy is trying to make is that if you want the kind of candidates who will truly further the development and creation of the law to the best and most end then you must be willing to increase the amount of money that they are offered. The problem with many of these justices is that they were the best and brightest in the private sector so they were used to making an incredible amount of money. Now, however, they are unable to maintain their previous cost of living with the stipend that they are recieving for working as the premier legal scholars in America. If the pay is bigger then everyone will want to be a supreme court justice, which will enhance the candidate pool, and thus allow more qualified candidates to assume judicial posts.

If you look at the BLS date for judges, magistrates, etc. you will see that there are less than 4,000 judges in the federal government. A pay raise would not break us anymore than some of our current expenditures (Medicare, Iraq, etc.)

Anglestani said...

Uh, a major pay raise would definitely not be helpful to an already strapped budget. I think a raise is called for, just enough to be in line with the average salary raise in recent decades. But I think the argument of "not attracting the best" is laughable. Unless we intend to raise their salaries into seven figure digits, the best will still go for private firms (top lawyers today easily make a million a year) if money is the only motivation for becoming a Supreme Court Justice.

Anonymous said...

This story is too funny. No one could better argue for a raise than a lawyer.

I can appreciate his argument, but I doubt that judges and lawyers seek the Supreme Court for the money. Let's be honest people, being on the Supreme Court is about the prestige, not the money.

Besides, a good lawyers could always make much more working in a private firm.