Does anyone else think New York judges are being a little whiny here? So their raises are tied up in politics...boo 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
By SAMUEL MAULL - AP
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.