December 11, 2007

Cry Me A River

Does anyone else think New York judges are being a little whiny here? So their raises are tied up in hoo. They knew what the job paid when they took it. They wanted the cushy life of being a judge but now they are DEMANDING more taxpayer money or else they will sue. Glad to see it's about public service. Here's an idea...go back to the private sector where you can earn the big bucks if money is what drives you.

NY's chief judge says she may sue over judicial pay raises

The state's chief judge says she may file a lawsuit next month if state lawmakers end a planned December session without voting to give raises to New York's judges.

Judge Judith Kaye said she expects lawmakers to return to Albany in mid-December. If they fail then to hike New York's judicial salaries, which are the 48th lowest in the nation, the judge said she may sue the state.

"I so don't want to do that," Kaye told The Associated Press. "I've been a lawyer for 45 years, and I know the pluses and minuses of litigation. To me it is a last resort, but I've come just about to the end of my patience."

"If they don't do it now, they'll come back in an election year, and nobody wants to talk about raises in an election year," she added.

The sticking point has been that legislators want a raise, too, their first since 1999. So they tied a raise for judges to a raise for themselves. But that proposal got hung up amid a dispute with Gov. Eliot Spitzer.

Spitzer spokesman Errol Cockfield said, "The state's judges are long overdue for a pay raise. We fully agree they deserve one, and the governor has introduced a bill that does not tie an increase to any other conditions."

At the very least, the judge said, she wants the current average salary of $136,700 raised to $165,200. As chief judge, Kaye earns $156,000 a year. She noted that first-year lawyers in some large Manhattan firms earn more than she does.

Kaye said most law school deans and top assistant district attorneys, people who constitute a pool from which many new judges are expected to be drawn, would have to take a pay cut if they accepted a job on the bench.

"I am ashamed to face colleagues in other states," the judge said in reference to salaries for New York's judges.

Kaye said lawmakers' failure to vote on a pay hike during the past nine years is effectively, given the rate of inflation, a pay cut and an intrusion on judicial independence, and therefore illegal.

It is rare, but not unprecedented, for the state's top judge to sue the state.


Larry S said...

This is absurd. How on earth can judges sue because they have not gotten a raise?

I would love to try that with my boss. "Hey boss, can I have a raise?" Nope. "Well, I'm going to sue you". You're fired. End of conversation.

And $136,000 isn't quite at the poverty level. Greed. Pure, unadulterated greed.

Frank DeGeorge said...

This is simply outrageous and don't give me b.s. about not getting qualified people to sit on the bench. Lawyers love to finish their careers as a judge, earn a big fat pension and then retire. And no one says these guys are exactly breaking their backs.

But what really gets me is the fact that they will sue. Think about this. A state judge who wants a raise will hear the case brought by another judge suing the state for that raise...anyone got a guess as to how this verdict will come down?

Johnny Walker said...

I love Judith Kaye's quote, "I am ashamed to face colleagues in other states". Because of her pay? My God, how about your performance on the bench?

Maybe THAT is something you should be proud of, not your damn paycheck!

Johnny Paycheck said...

Hey, Judy, if you're so enraged, why not walk into Spitzer's office and tell him: "Take this job and shove it. I ain't workin here no more."

Then you can head to NYC and join a nice white shoe law firm and make real money and not feel so ashamed that you make $100,000 more than the average working stiff in New York State.

cg466 said...

Hey Judy shut your pie hole.

clemenza said...

This could be the first issue on which we have universal agreement.

No one twisted your arm to be a judge, Judy. Judge that's funny.

Turk 182 said...

Saying she's ashamed to face judges in other states has got to be one of the most stupid things I have ever heard. Imagine that conversation at a judges convention:

Judge Kaye: "Hi, Marty good to see you, how are the courts doing in Ohio."

Judge Marty: "Ohio is fine. But you should be embarassed with how poorly you and the other New York judges are paid."

Judge Kaye (in tears): "I'm so ashamed" as she runs back to her hotel room and cries herself to sleep.