Handouts for Deprived Judges!
- Handouts for Deprived Judges!Ron Branson - National J.A.I.L. CICYears ago when JAIL4Judges was first founded in 1995, a search was done on J.A.I.L.'s behalf to find any other websites that existed exposing judges. The result was that search engines could find no other judicial websites using every parameters which could be thought. Findley, eureka, a website was found that was placed up by the judges. And what was their message? The judges were complaining that they were not being paid enough for their labors as judges. Since that time, I have been sensitive to this message from judges. No matter how much they are paid, judges are always pushing the message that they need more pay. It kinda makes one feel sorry for these judges having to live just above poverty level which is actually situated among the top one-half per cent of all American salaries.To date, their message since 1995 has not changed. If J.A.I.L. sent out a message every time these judges got out their hankies and cried to us to open our wallets to them, you would soon get bored with their message. After all, near all judges drive brand new luxury automobiles, live in real estate mansions complete with security gates and cameras, alarm systems, and some of them actually have security guards. Most judges run among the high society of wine, women, and song, lacking nothing. I even retrieved a poster from the wall in the Los Angeles County Court House, (one of the largest courthouses in the nation), which offered a toll-free 1(800) number for judges to call confidentially if they found themselves hooked on drugs, while at the same time the defendants before them were being sent to prison on drug charges.As to websites exposing judges, they have now popped up since the founding of J.A.I.L. like mushrooms, and have gained the command among search engines as somewhere near the top five position. Even former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is now publically running around the nation proclaiming that in all her years on the bench, she has never seen the judges under such fire, and she is spending her retirement years seeking to counter this trend of judges having to defend their positions. She says, even one of the opposition organizations calls themselves JAIL4Judges!Since the founding of J.A.I.L. we have pushed out some 15,000,000 emails pounding away at the judges. A simple Google search of JAIL4Judges will give one a good idea of the impact J.A.I.L. is having made on this nation. Having said this, get out your handkerchiefs and read what the Wall Street Journal has to say about these abused judges who are being forced to survive on their meager salaries.- Ron Branson~ ~ ~The Wall Street JournalChecks and Judicial Balances
June 14, 2008; Page A10
Here's a weekend daydream: What if on Monday, you walked into work and gave yourself a raise? That's what happened in New York this week, when a state judge ordered the Governor and state legislature to pony up bigger paychecks for him and the rest of his judicial friends. It's the perfect plan – if only it weren't for that inconvenient detail about separation of powers.
The ruling, by New York Supreme Court Justice Edward Lehner, commands the state Senate and Assembly to pass a pay raise for judges in the next 90 days – and make some provision to retroactively compensate them for the lean years. The four plaintiffs in the suit suggested $600,000 each would do the trick. Multiplied out for the entire New York Judiciary, that would put New York taxpayers on the line for $700 million.
New York Governor David Paterson was unamused. Only the state legislature has the power to set judicial salaries, his office rightly pointed out in a statement. The judge's decision "flies in the face of the state constitution."
There's more where that came from. Still pending before Judge Lehner is a separate suit brought by New York State Chief Judge Judith Kaye, who has retained New York attorney Bernard Nussbaum to sue the Governor and legislature for a raise for all 3,000 New York judges. Judge Lehner will thus be expected to rule in a case in which he is effectively a plaintiff, and in which he is also judging a complaint by his judicial superior.
The suits are necessary, say the judges, because legislators will raise their salaries only when they also raise their own, a fact which has left paychecks unaltered for a decade. That, in Judge Lehner's words, represents an "unconstitutional interference upon the independence of the judiciary." After a decade of inflation, judges say their salaries have been effectively cut – something which is prohibited by law.
At those rates, they say they now make less than what's pocketed by first-year associates at big law firms. But few would consider their salaries fodder for Oliver Twist. Chief Judge Kaye makes the most, at $156,000 a year, while others earn about $136,700. By comparison, Members of the U.S. Congress now make $169,300 a year. A memorandum of law filed on behalf of Governor Paterson and state Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver in Judge Kaye's case notes that judges are already extremely well paid relative to the state workforce.
We have some sympathy for the judges, most of whom could make far more in private life. But then they also have extended tenure. To attract better people to the bench, we'd be willing to swap higher pay for term limits. New York judges may have a legitimate complaint about salary erosion, but they are exceeding their own legal authority by asserting the right to overrule the elected branches and set their own pay – about as basic a legislative function as one can imagine.
Most judges choose their robes not for the salary but for the honor and significant authority, and, dare we say, the chance to serve the public. The hours are good, the work is interesting and they don't suffer the indignities of work life that are routine for the first-year associates whose salaries trump theirs. That, as they say, is priceless.
_______________________________________________J.A.I.L.P.O. Box 207North Hollywood, CA. 91603