January 01, 2007

The Poor Are Still With Us: As you enjoy the Rose Bowl at home this New Year's Day, perhaps a thought can be spared for these benighted wretches, our nation's federal judges. According to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts:
In 1969, federal judges earned substantially more than the dean and the senior professors at Harvard Law School, Roberts said. Today, federal judges are paid about half of what the deans and senior law professors at top schools are paid, he said.

During the same period, the average U.S. worker's wage, adjusted for inflation, has risen about 18%. By contrast, the pay for a federal judge has declined about 24% compared with inflation, creating a gap of 42%, he said.

Federal judges, who have lifetime appointments, "do not expect to receive salaries commensurate with what they could easily earn in the private sector," Roberts acknowledged. Indeed, judges in many cities know that lawyers fresh out of law school will earn more than they do, he noted.

But judges should not have to accept salaries that "fall further and further behind the cost of living…. The time is ripe for our nation's judges to receive a substantial salary increase," he said.
--From today's Onion Los Angeles Times. For the record, federal district court judges, who serve lifetime appointments, have had to make do on a meager stipend of $165,000 a year, which is less than four times the average national income. It would be terrible if all the young principled ideologues that have been placed on the courts these last six years would have to leave for the private sector so soon.

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