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1491Who is the Master, and Who is the Servant?

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  • JAIL4Judges
    Dec 26, 2008


      Who is the Master, and

      Who is the Servant?

      By Ron Branson – National J.A.I.L. CIC



      It seems America has gotten this whole thing of master/servant totally backwards. It has now become offensive to every public official to be referred to as a “Public Servant.”


      Our Declaration of Independence, passed by unanimous vote of Congress July 4, 1776 states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed…” [emphasis added]


      The only powers any government has are those limited to “just powers,” as defined by “the consent of the governed,” which authority is “endowed [to us] by [our] Creator.” It is thus logical then that if we are unhappy with the regime calling itself “government,” we have only ourselves to blame, for there can be no government without our consent.


      Many say, “But I didn’t vote for this mess we currently have posing itself as government!” Indeed, you may have not physically and literally cast your vote for the current evils that befall us; but it is obvious that we have allowed every ungodly evil done to us by our tacit consent, for “all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.” (The Declaration).


      It is an absolute truth that there can be no greater authority than He Who has granted us this power which is our “Creator,” Who said, “…whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant:” Matthew 20:26-27.


      We are informed in the December 26, 2008 BaltimoreSun.com, under the title, “Panel recommends pay raises for state judges,” http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-md.judiciary24dec24,0,7975978.story  that “At a time when state workers are being furloughed and face possible layoffs, Maryland judges would get a pay raise of nearly $40,000 over the next four years under a plan hatched by an influential commission that recommends salaries for those on the bench.”


      In all my years of focus upon judges, the one thing that always surfaces is the subject of increasing the salaries of judges. Such is consistent with the words of our Creator, “Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.” Psalms 73:12


      Wherever increases in judges’ salaries is brought up, we always hear words repeated as come from the lips of these Commissioners, “…their job is to evaluate judicial salaries to encourage recruitment and retention - and not to forecast the economy or balance the state's budget.” And further, “Commission members said the state runs the risk of losing judges to the private sector.” Their argument then is that if we fail to give these judges maximum salaries they will quit the bench and go elsewhere. In other words, “Good judges are had in direct proportion to how much we pay them.”


      However, I find that just the opposite is true. There are many honest, intelligent and well-qualified men I know who would love to fill the positions of these judges on the bench, but are foreclosed by the Establishment from doing so.


      Here in California no well-qualified person may even consider a judgeship unless he has a minimum of an extra $70,000 set aside that he can afford to lose in throwing his hat in a judicial race. The reality is, only the wealthy, well-connected and unprincipled culprits are given a chance to a judgeship position. Put in humorous form, “How can you tell a corrupt judge?” Answer: “The corrupt ones wear a black robe.”


      The Master of the world, and Judge of all judges said, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” Matthew 8:20. Following the common argument of those pursuing judicial salary increases, we would expect to hear an answer to the question, “Master, where dwellest thou?” the words, “Come and see one of my castles!”

      *   *   *


      Panel recommends pay raises for state judges

      December 24, 2008

      At a time when state workers are being furloughed and face possible layoffs, Maryland judges would get a pay raise of nearly $40,000 over the next four years under a plan hatched by an influential commission that recommends salaries for those on the bench.

      The Judicial Compensation Commission, which includes a lawyer, a developer and business leaders, plans to submit its recommendation to the General Assembly next month, according to Chairwoman Betty Buck, a businesswoman who chairs the state chamber of commerce. The commission's proposals are traditionally introduced as a joint resolution by the legislature's presiding officers.

      The proposed schedule of yearly pay increases would push the salary of Court of Appeals Chief Judge Robert M. Bell to $220,210 by 2012. He now makes $181,352. Dozens of district judges, including Gov. Martin O'Malley's wife, Catherine Curran O'Malley, would see their salaries bumped from $127,252 to $167,110 a year. That's more than the governor's $150,000 annual salary.

      The commission's recommendation, which would cost about $3 million a year when fully phased in, is likely to land in the General Assembly with a thud. O'Malley, a Democrat, might need to carve as much as $2 billion from his next budget because tax revenues have fallen off significantly with the recession.

      "The bottom line is that for the legislature as well as judiciary our employees are being furloughed. The legislature has not had a pay increase for years and years, and we're not asking for one," said Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who is a practicing lawyer. "There just isn't any sentiment right now to increase salaries for anyone in these very tough economic times."

      Commission members said their job is to evaluate judicial salaries to encourage recruitment and retention - and not to forecast the economy or balance the state's budget. They said they take into account caseloads as well as comparable judicial pay nationally and what lawyers can make in the private sector.

      "Without the rule of law in Maryland , we have nothing, and it's just imperative we have good judges sit on the benches," Buck said. "You're asking a lot for someone who understands the law to give up their way of life to become a judge. It is a financial burden on them and their families."

      Starting salaries at Baltimore law firms can reach $165,000, surpassing those of most judges, according to data provided by the commission. But Maryland ranks toward the top of all states for salaries at some judicial ranks, the data shows. Bell 's salary ranks sixth nationally, or almost $30,000 more than the average.

      The commission last recommended a series of annual pay increases in 2005, and district court judges have received a $15,000 pay raise over the four years since then. Judges had typically received any cost-of-living adjustments state employees got, but those were suspended as part of the four-year pay increase plan.

      Angelita Plemmer, a spokeswoman for the Maryland judiciary, said it would be "premature" to comment on a report that hasn't been publicly issued. "We respect the process the General Assembly has put in place by creating an independent entity that reviews the issue," she said.

      The General Assembly can reduce the recommended salary levels from the commission, chosen by O'Malley, Miller, House Speaker Michael E. Busch and the Maryland State Bar Association. However, the legislature cannot reduce a judge's salary below its current level.

      As a check and balance on the branches of government, the judiciary submits its budget to O'Malley. "We really don't have any control over their budget request," spokeswoman Christine Hansen said.

      Buck, who circulated the final report among the other commission members yesterday, said she would understand if the legislature can't approve the recommendation. She plans to ask that in lieu of the increases the legislature pass a law allowing the commission to meet again next year when the economy might have recovered and pay raises might be more affordable. The commission only meets every four years.

      "I understand the budget and that our state is in a horrible place," Buck said. "How they implement this is up to the legislature."

      Miller said he has spoken with several judges and that they recognize a salary increase probably isn't possible next year. He also noted that judges undertake "challenging work," singling out circuit and district court judges who handle trials. He said they should be commended for giving up lucrative jobs for public service.

      Trial court judges in Maryland rank 19th in the nation in terms of salary, a standing that falls to 46th when adjusted for the area's cost of living, according to the National Center for State Courts.

      Commission members said the state runs the risk of losing judges to the private sector. There are now eight vacancies out of 285 judgeships, with one retirement expected by the end of this month.

      " Maryland should look at what a fair salary for a judge is so that we can encourage those with the talents set that should be applying for the bench to apply for the bench," said Edward J. Gilliss, a commission member and partner at Royston, Mueller, McLean & Reid.

      Meanwhile, O'Malley has implemented a furlough plan for most state employees, resulting in the loss of two to five days worth of pay, depending on income levels.

      "It's just surprising that people are talking about pay increases for people who are obviously well compensated already in these trying times," said Patrick Moran, Maryland director of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. "I find it inherently unfair and irresponsible at this point in time."

      Bell has adopted the furlough plan for employees in the judicial branch, including law clerks and judicial appointees. In his order last week, Bell cited the state's "fiscal crisis of extraordinary proportions."