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Thread: Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase

  1. #21
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    Re: Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase

    Here is an interesting article that was just published in the federaltimes about the issue of pay for the federal judiciary. It says it all:



    H.L. Mencken said happiness is making more than your wife's sister's husband. Is unhappiness making less than your granddaughter or her husband, if they happen to be new lawyers? If it is, federal judges must be very unhappy.

    Federal judges are the enforcers of the Constitution and protectors of our civil rights, entrusted with power to overrule the president and declare Congress' laws void. But they are paid less than the most inexperienced, first-year lawyer at a big law firm.

    It's a scandal, and it's not about money - a decent raise for federal judges would not even register as a nano-percent of the federal budget - but about politics. Judges' salaries are tethered to congressional salaries, and lawmakers are afraid to raise their own salaries, lest their vote become an election issue.

    Over the past 40 years, workers' wages, adjusted for inflation, have risen 17.8 percent. During that same period, federal judges' real pay has declined 23.9 percent. Even the cost of living adjustments most federal workers received were denied to judges in 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2007.

    In the federal government today, many professional positions in the executive branch now qualify for salaries far above what district judges are paid. Such federal employees can receive total compensation exceeding $200,000 annually, far more than the $169,300 a district judge receives.

    Why should anyone care what federal judges make, and whether or not they feel respected by the society they serve? One reason is that we want the best, most empathetic, most even-handed, and most intelligent to serve as our judges. We don't want our most important rights guarded by underpaid, disrespected, demoralized judges, who have to struggle to send their kids to college, nor do we want as judges only those already rich enough to work for pay many times less than what they could earn as a lawyer, mediator or arbitrator.

    Fortunately, bipartisan legislation is pending in Congress that would restore fairness to judicial compensation and provide judges with their first pay increase in nearly 20 years. The bill is supported by a cross section of leaders, including our own Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Diane Feinstein, and Representatives Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren and George Miller. Support comes from a broad coalition of organized labor, civil rights organizations, environmental groups, corporate and national business organizations.

    HR 3753 passed both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees months ago. Yet the full Congress has failed to act. Some members of Congress are holding it up, in an effort to keep judges' pay tied to congressional salaries. But the fact that Congress, rightly skittish about how it is perceived, cannot raise salaries for its members doesn't mean it should drag the federal judiciary down with it.

    The leaders of Congress need to seize this opportunity to authorize a minuscule budget expenditure that will free federal judges from the financial shackles of politics and restore the dignity, independence and respect due the federal judiciary. Otherwise, the best will eschew judgeships, leaving justice in the hands of the second-rate, the ideologues, and the wealthy.

    Long ago, the Chinese Emperor K'Ang-Hsi (1662-1723), fearing that lawsuits would increase if people were not afraid of the courts, said: "I desire . . . that those who have recourse to the tribunal should be treated without pity, and in such a manner that they shall be disgusted with law, and tremble to come before a magistrate." If Congress does not act now, that may be where we end up.


    John W. Keker is a lawyer in San Francisco.

  2. #22
    Senior Member bombsquadron6's Avatar
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    Re: Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase

    You simply don’t want to debate my central premise. Federal judges have become arrogant and elitist. They have become the protectors of big business and average Americans are being harmed. What happened to us in federal court was not unique. We were denied all due process by federal judges who were positively smug about it. They believed that there would be no price to pay for their actions and they knew that if we complained the complaints would be quickly dismissed, which is exactly what happened. (Please review the judicial misconduct complaints cited to earlier.) Keep in mind that I have sent information about this case to many, many people in government and no one has ever suggested that I am wrong or that I am making unjust accusations. It is a roadmap of judicial corruption and I believe it happens all the time to working class Americans. But you maintain they deserve a large raise.

    The proponents of the pay raise have conveniently cherry picked 1969 to use for comparison. I have noted this in an earlier post. However, you still have not addressed the other central issue. Why should the military, which is held accountable for the actions of its members, get a 3.9 % raise and the judiciary, which is completely unaccountable, get ten times that amount. You also cherry pick the comparisons to other attorneys. An interesting letter was written in 2003 concerning a proposed pay raise. It was true then and is even more so now:

    For Immediate Release Jun 17, 2003
    For Further Information, Contact:
    Peter J. Sepp, (703) 683-5700
    Groups Render Verdict: No Huge Raises for Federal Judges
    (Washington, DC) – This week, a coalition of grassroots organizations sent letters to all Members of Congress, urging them not to support a proposed 16.5% raise for federal judges.The letter was organized by Congressional Accountability Project with the assistance of the 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU), a longtime critic of pay hikes for Congress. Text, along with signatories, follows:

    “Dear Member of Congress:

    In recent weeks, a chorus of attorneys and federal judges has been decrying supposedly low federal judicial salaries. Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist has even claimed astonishingly that boosting salaries is ‘the most pressing issue facing the federal judiciary today.’
    They plead for an eye-popping 16.5% federal judicial pay hike. With the proposed raises, in addition to benefits and generous pensions, the Chief Justice would be paid $231,400 (from the present $198,600), associate justices $221,500 (from the present $190,100), circuit judges $191,100 (from the present $164,000) and district judges $180,200 (from the present $154,700).
    There is no need for such a raise. Our federal judges are not poor, either in absolute terms, by comparison with their colleagues, or by historical standards. Contrary to some reports that federal judges’ salaries have been heavily eroded by inflation, salaries for district court judges are higher than the average during the past 50 years, adjusted for inflation. Fifty years ago, their salaries were $51,000 less, in current dollars. Since the infamous 1989 midnight congressional pay grab, district court judges are $22,000 above inflation, in current dollars.

    Circuit judges already enjoy more than twice the average attorney’s earnings, which were $80,000 per year, according to the 2000 Bureau of Labor Statistics National Compensation Survey. The federal government cannot afford to give such lavish raises to its judges, far above the already generous salaries of most Members of Congress. Our U.S. government debt is currently $6.6 trillion, and rising fast. The fiscal picture is grim and deteriorating. The Congressional Budget Office is forecasting a federal deficit in excess of $400 billion for 2003. Some private analysts predict even worse for 2004.
    If judges wish to leave the bench to earn more, they are free to do so in the private, for-profit sector. Their public service is not compulsory. There is no lack of excellent law professors, general practitioners, and public interest, legal services, labor, civil liberties and government lawyers eager and willing to replace them. For most of these lawyers, the current federal judicial salaries would be a sizable raise.
    We strongly urge you to oppose the proposed special 16.5% judicial pay raise. Federal judges are supposed to demonstrate moral as well as legal authority. They should set an example of prudent self-restraint at a time of growing sacrifices by the working families who pay their salaries.

    Sincerely,
    Ralph Nader
    Gary Ruskin, Director, Congressional Accountability Project
    Pete Sepp, Vice President for Communications, National Taxpayers Union
    Paul M. Weyrich, President, Free Congress Foundation
    Jill Lancelot, President/Co-Founder, Taxpayers for Common Sense
    Dave Williams, Vice President of Policy, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste
    Joe Seehusen, Executive Director, Libertarian Party”

    NTU is a non-partisan citizen group founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, less wasteful spending, and accountable government at all levels. Note: For further details on NTU’s efforts to reform federal pay and perks, visit www.ntu.org. For more information about the currently-proposed federal judicial pay raise, see the Congressional Accountability Project website at http://www.congressproject.org.

    For an example of the type of judges you wish to protect and award with lavish pay raises please look at this story about a Ninth Circuit judge downloading porn and creating a porn site while presiding over a district court porn case. (Keep in mind that this judge, a well known member of the Federalist Society, was on the short list for a Supreme Court nomination):

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-kozinski12-2008jun12,0,6220192.story[/URL]

    Those of us in the private sector or in the military would face discipline for such behavior. This judge is protected from any real accountability other than embarrassment. While we all know that he is Constitutionally protected, please do not try to convince me or anyone else that he deserves a lavish pay raise. No accountability, no pay raise. The judiciary owes the American public, not the other way around.

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    Re: Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase

    Bombsquadron6, with all due respect, you ignored the central premise of my post. The judges are receiving annual pay raises far less than other federal workers. It does not matter if you go 40 years back, 50 years, 30 years. Sure, Justice Roberts cherry picked a date most favorable to his position (the high water mark of judicial pay). Hey, he has one of America's most brillant legal minds -- what would you expect him to do, use a date that was less illustrative of what is going on here? No matter what date you pick, however, the central premise is still the same. Federal judges' pay has dramatically decreased relative to lawyers in the private sector and federal employees in the GS system from where it was 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago.

    You suggest federal judges should be disciplined. However, they are -- just ask the judge in Houston I mentioned in my previous post who was accused of sexual harrassment. However, there is just so much that can be done in terms of discipline, absent evidence of a crime, because if a reviewing authority disagreed with a judge's decision could have the latter "disciplined" then that would destroy the independence of the judiciary. No one wants a non-independent judiciary because often a federal judge is all that stands between a citizen and dire legal and financial consequences.

    You obviously have a personal grudge against the entire federal judiciary based on your experience with a district judge and the circuit judges who reviewed his decision. Clearly, you feel you were treated unfairly in the case involving the transit system, and that has likely clouded your opinion on this issue.

    You mention the "average lawyer's" pay. Of course, that includes the newly minted lawyers, the legal aid lawyers, the lawyers who live by criminal court appointments, Asst DAs, etc. Then you cite Ralph Nadar, who uses no study to support his permise that judges have been given raises more than the inflation rate. Its just outrageous, particularly when we all know its not true -- just look at their annual pay raises going back each year for the past 16 years. Further, you are dead wrong -- the American public does owe the judiciary. Of course, the reverse is true as well. The relationship should be symbiotic and not one way. The point here is that, without the judiciary, there would be far fewer checks on the President and Congress, and there would be no way to stop their unlawful acts absent rioting in the streets or a military coup. What kind of country would we be living in then? Moreover, America owes these servants the same thing it owes every other public servant -- THE OBLIGATION TO TREAT THEM FAIRLY. They should not be treated as doormats as far as annual pay increases are concerned. I do not know why you single out federal judges. Do you also advocate giving de facto annual pay cuts to postal workers, revenue officers, ATF agents, and any of the thousands of other occupation groups who work for the government? How about transit workers? Should they go 16 years in a row with pay increases less than the amount of inflation.

    You call me elitist, but do you really want a judge with other than a top, top quality legal mind to have the power to declare the President's actions unlawful or void a law passed by Congress? Don't you think you are more likely to attract a person with a brillant legal mind if you set up a system that at least gave them pay increases equal to the amount of inflation? Do you really want to demoralize this group of what should be incredibly bright legal minds with having them paid less than a first year lawyer at a big law firm who has 1/100th the experience and spends his time researching or chasing ambulances? The judges on the district and circuit benches are even paid less than the SEC lawyers the government employs!

    Not only is what we are doing to the judge's standard of living not right, but its not good for America. It is not good for America to demoralize one group of federal employees just because their pay happens to be tied to Congress' pay. I ask you, Bombsquadron6 -- have you gone 16 years in a row with annual pay increases less than the amount of inflation?

    Now, I have appeared before many, many federal judges. I know some who are not independently rich and one in particular who is frankly bitter because of these annual de facto pay cuts. This was clear from a speech he gave to the US Attorneys Office a number of years ago. Who can blame him after so many years with pay raises less than the inflation rate? The interesting thing is, this judge has made in my judgment many atrocious legal decisions in the past. I would hate to think that this bitterness was what clouded his temperment and judgment. Maybe this was the experience you had -- prehaps the judge you were before was likewise so bitter about being treated as a second rate public servant when he had one of the most important jobs in the government that he just snapped. I don't know, but these are human beings after all. I would love to see what kind of car GM or Ford would build if it gave its assembly line workers 16 years in a row of de facto pay cuts. I would love to see how the transit system you work for would operate if it gave its employees those kinds of raises. You see, this is not an issue about free enterprise vs. government service. This is an issue about fundamental fairness. It is not fair to give any group of workers -- whether military, professional, blue collar or whatever -- de facto pay cuts year after year after year after year. That kind of treatment would make any human being who is not independently rich unhappy.

    You asked about the 3.9% raise. The answer is, the judges have not gotten a raise near that much for two decades. During those same years, I know of at least one year they got no raise at all. Put simply, their pay has been eroded more than any other group in government I am aware of. Since it has been eroded more, the should get this one time pay increase. Period. Also, because they are so few of them relative the size of the federal government the amount of expense to the taxpayers is a nonobite. Did you complain to Congress when they decided to authorize pay for sugeons in VA Hospitals that was more than $250K a year or when they authorized the SEC to pay some of its attorneys more than $200K a year?

    You make it sound as if my position is untentable. Yet, there is broad support for it on both sides of the aisle in Congress, as well as in the ABA. To have so many people who usually have very different points of view in other matters agree on this point speaks volumes. I urge others to support this pay reform. The name of the bill speaks volumes -- it is not the Judical Pay Act, it is the Judicial Pay Restoration Act.

    Finally, you speak of government waste, as if paying someone more to partially make up for almost 2 decades of pay erosion is waste. Well, all I can say is, can you imagine the amount of waste that results when one of these jurists makes a bad decision (e.g., issues a TRO that closes down the Houston ship channel or enters a judgment that forces a transit company into bankruptcy)? These are far more important jobs than exist in any law firm because of the power that comes with it. We need to and morally should pay the lawyers who hold these jobs fairly. After all, their occupation is far more important that the litinay of lawyers who you mention would take the job because the consequences of their screw ups are far more disasterous. Its not an issue of whether you can find lawyers who would take the job. The issue is whether that lawyer is both intellectually brillant, a keen listener and has an even temperment. I would suggest to you that those types do not exactly grow off trees.

    Lastly, you mention "no accountability, no pay raise." That is a catchy phrase, but ask yourself -- how does one assess accountability in this situation? The people in these jobs are not like soldiers in the sense that they follow the orders of a field commander. They operate independently so that their decisions will be independent of outside influences. Moreover, to deny a raise to an entire group of workers because a kooky colleague looked at porn is just silly. You call the pay increase "lavish" when, even with the increase these men and women will be paid far, far less than lawyers of comparable education and experience, and the increase will only partially make up for past de facto pay cuts.

    You talk about government waste. Well I am a conservative. I want lower taxes as well and less government regulation. However, as a student of how the federal goverments works I can say one think for certain. I have never, ever seen an organization anywhere that is more penny wise and pound foolish. You can see example after example after example. This raise is important because it will signal to potential applicants that the government is stopping its practice of giving the jurists these annual de facto pay cuts. That will bring into the mix a larger pool of top lawyers who are interested in the job. Furthermore, a raise that is but a nanobite of the total amount the goverment spends is a small price to pay if if demonstrates that we treat all federal employees fairly in terms of pay, i.e., that we will at least pay them an amount equal to inflation. Also, the raise will further the vital goal of having a federal judiciary that is truly composed of the best and the brightest. Finally, the raise will help insure we do not end up with the type of bitter, angry judiciary envisioned by Chinese Emperor K'Ang-Hsi

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    Re: Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase

    Bombsquadron6 - As an addendum to my earlier post, I want you to think about the following. A few years ago there was a transit worker in Chicago who was convicted of being a serial killer. We have a soldier caught in Mexico after fleeing North Carolina after he murdered another soldier. We have soldiers in Iraq convicted of torturing Iraqis. We had an accountant in Texas who worked for Enron who was convicted of a fraud that caused thousands of people to lose their life savings. We also have a petroleum engineer who has been charged with murdering his 2 year old step daughter. We also have a medical doctor down here convicted of rape. Another doctor has been convicted of medicaide fraud. Do you get the picture? I could go on and on and on and point out criminal acts or corrupt acts undertaken by members of every profession. However, I am not going to do what you suggest. Namely, I am not going to get up and shout that, due to these experiences, all doctors, or all engineers or all soldiers or all engineers or all accountants are corrupt and thus everyone who works in these occupations should be punished with pay cuts.

    Clearly your views are colored by a bad experience you had. I am sorry. I am sure the family of the murdered soldier in North Carolina have views that that are tainted as well. However, I am not going to use that experience as a platform to say give our soldiers pay cuts. To the contrary, I favor more pay for them. I also favor better pay for federal judges.

    You seem to think this is an either/or situation. I respectfully disagree. This should instead be a win, win situation, where all should get fair pay. It could easily happen if our Congress would elimiate a fraction of its wasteful spending. As far as the judges are concerned, as Mr. Keker pointed out it would only take a nanobyte of the federal budget to restore judicial pay under the bill currently working its way through Congress.

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    Senior Member bombsquadron6's Avatar
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    Re: Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase


    Dear Sensible,

    No, I certainly am not ignoring your central argument. You maintain that these federal judges deserve a large raise and they deserve it right now. No, they do not. Not until they decide to reform a judiciary that treats average Americans with utter contempt. They no longer answer to common citizens; they answer to big business. Accountability starts at the top. The U.S. Supreme Court, made up of ideologues from both parties, demands no accountability from the judges in the federal judiciary. There is no leadership from the top and district court and appellate court judges know that they can do whatever they want and will have to answer to no one. I will continue to use our case as an example of a judiciary so out of control that established law, due process and fundamental fairness were brazenly tossed out the window by arrogant and contemptuous federal judges. You may be sure I am disgusted by the entire federal judiciary. Any law abiding, hard working, blue-collar American who endured what we did would feel the same way. But it isn't just personal for me. The decision handed down by the district court judge, upheld by the Tenth Circuit and rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court allows transit districts and corrupt unions to select the bargaining representative (union) for the transit workers. Transit workers no longer have the right to select who will represent them. This is in clear contradiction to all modern established labor law.

    You use numerous criminal cases to make an argument that the military as a whole cannot be blamed for the actions of a few. Of course, that is correct. However, each of those individuals was held accountable for their actions. They likely face harsh punishment, especially those in the military. The judiciary, with its Constitutional protections, faces no such accountability when it commits misconduct. But they want a raise much larger than the military. Yet, at most, they suffer comparative deprivation while our military is facing true deprivation. http://www.usnews.com/blogs/washingt...n-vietnam.html In weighing the equities, it is the military and not the judiciary that should receive disproportionate raises.

    You have repeatedly focused on the U.S. Supreme Court in your arguments. Not only do they not demand accountability from judges within the federal judiciary, they are accepting less cases. In its most recent session, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments for only seventy cases, the fewest in over fifty years. http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/civ...ant-cases.htmlThe caseload has steadily declined and yet these Justices want significantly more money. I think most people would like a position that requires half the work of twenty years ago. http://www.indiancountry.com/content.cfm?id=1096414477

    Since, in addition to federal judges, you also defend the U.S. Attorney's office, I would like your views on the recent murder of Border Patrol agent Luis Aguilar and an explanation why the U.S. Attorney's office has refused to extradite his murderer from Mexico despite the fact that he was arrested by Mexican police. We Americans certainly deserve an explanation and you or any member of the U.S. Attorney's office are welcome to provide one here. http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bes...lbray.intv.cnn
    http://loudobbs.tv.cnn.com/2008/07/1...pects-release/

    I standby all of my posts and I find your rebuttal arguments entirely unpersuasive. The judiciary and its allies have tried to use selective statistics to push through a large raise but a review of the entire record demonstrates that they are undeserving of a raise and certainly not a raise ten times that of the military.

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    Re: Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase

    I guess my point is, I do not consider what they are seeking a large raise. If you go back the past 16 years, you will see they have been "raised" every year less than the amount of inflation. What the judges seek is partial restoration of what has been denied to them because of the link between their pay and Congress' pay.

    The number of cases heard means nothing. What counts is the significance of the cases heard. Many are extraordinarily complicated.

    Another interesting point here is that it is not only the judges and capped out federal attorneys held hostage by Congress' unwillingness to give raises at least equal to inflation. If you look at what is happened here, the same is true with all Schedule III and Schedule IV federal executives. Unless they are independently wealthy, these SESers and the others are all are hurting mightily now because these pay "raises" less than the amount of inflation have been going on for many years in a row now. That type of practice is just not right and not fair.

    Having served in the US Attorny's Office for many years (although I am no longer there now), I can tell you without a doubt it was not their decision. Any decision involving international affairs comes directly out of Washington, namely, the decision is made by the U.S. Attorney General.

    On the issue of the judges, what I have noticed is that the appointments almost always go to partners in large law firms. That is unlikely to change no matter the pay because those firms want their lawyers in those positions. As you may know, giving out the appointment is a way of paying back those who support the party in power. The big law firms all have Political Action Committees that give candidates major donations. The ones in Houston give hundreds of thousands of dollars to both sides of the aisle. I guess the idea here is that these firms support both sides so that they will have a degree of influence with whatever administration comes to power. You should know, however, that there are two types of partners in these large law firms. Those that are rich and those on their way to becoming rich. So, all your policy of low pay will do is this: only the rich ones will want the job. The others cannot stand the pay cut! How great -- with your view we will just have federal benches composed of a bunch of rich folks who are so loaded they do not care about money. Well, I hope you are successful in your campaign to continue the practice of giving the judges de facto pay cuts because you are likely going to end up with a bunch of folks in black robes who are so wealthy they cannot possibly identify with the common man (or woman).

    This practice of annual de facto pay cuts (pay increases less than the inflation rate) has gone on for so long that it is likely the federal judiciary is changing as we speak, and only the ultra wealthy are taking the jobs now. This may explain the arrogance your post refers to. Get used to it, Bombsquadron6 -- you are very likely going to see more of it because the $50K of so we are tallking about will mean nothing to the type of people who will be taking these jobs (it will proportionately be like a few hundred dollars to you or me -- big deal). Like I have said - you get what you pay for, and the U.S. government is the most pennywise and pound foolish organization in the history of mankind. We are on the verge of having a federal judiciary comprised exclusively of the ultra wealthy, and these de facto pay cuts you favor so strongly will be one of the primary culprits for this situation.

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    Re: Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase

    Here is how 16 years of pay raises for the judiciary less than the amount of military will impact military pay:

    To see how the pay game along the banks of the Potomac is played, consider this. A couple of years ago their was a bill in Congress to raise the pay of administrative law judges (ALJs) in Congress. That bill failed, in part because the Article III judges pushed an effort to defeat it. The reason for the opposition? The Article III judges get no pay increase, so neither should the federal ALJs. Now, there are only about 1500 federal ALJs.

    Others are also seeking pay increases -- the SES group and capped out federal attorneys and those capped out in the GS system. Their numbers are far higher than ALJs (there are many thousands of these types). If the Article III judges are not given fair annual increases, then as I mentioned these groups won't either. So here we will have a group of many thousands of people who either manage the day to day affairs federal government or handle its most important legal cases. Now we have all heard the saying that misery loves company. Well, trust me -- if these people do not get fair raises then there will be some from these groups lobbying behind the scene to stop fair raises from going to the military. The reasoning will be that since they are not getting fair raises, no one should. Unfortunately, that is just the childish way our democracy seems to work.

    On the issue of the arrogance you experienced in your encountered with the federal district and circuit court, it sound very likely that you suffered at the hands judges who are independently rich. As you know, that is exactly how many in that category operate. So you (i.e., the taxpayers) got what you paid for -- or in this situation did not pay for; you got judges who would take the job for the realitively low pay because the money means nothing to them as they do not need it. This is exemplified by a judge out of Corpus Christi. This man never tried a single case before taking the job. He was a real estate lawyer. Why then did he get it? Well, I invite you to fly into Corpus Christi sometime and it would be easy for you to figure out -- the international airport there is named after this fellows father. Many estitmate this man's net worth well over $100 million.

    As a side note, you can also forget about these jobs going to people who work for legal aide, or come directly from the JAG Corps or are currently public servants (unless, of course, these people have mighty powerful political connections). That is just never going to happen and for you to think it wil is overly idealistic. Here is the reality, Bombsquadron6 and here is a newsflash: these are political appointments. Therefore, they almost always go to those who have significantly contributed to the party in power. Go to any federal courthouse and look at the background of the people who hold these jobs and you will know what I am saying is true.

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    Re: Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase

    Dear Sensible,
    No, the district court judge who ruled in our case was not independently wealthy. That is easy to verify. His name is on the judicial misconduct complaint. Please go to http://utahtransitworker.org to review it. You attempt to make an argument that the independently wealthy are inherently corrupt. Nonsense. I would point to both Warren Buffet and Bill Gates as examples of men with stunning wealth who understand that they must return something to society. Your argument is without merit. The judges we dealt with were ambitious and their actions likely had more to do with advancement than enrichment.
    Since you make an argument that it is a fact of life that judicial appointments have more to do with cronyism than merit, I would submit that that is even more reason to deny these judges a pay raise. There is a large pool of talented attorneys out there who would not be beholden to any corporation or political ideology and would do a much better job for the present salary. But I will not get into an abstract argument about this. Since the judiciary, from the Supreme Court down to every district court judge, refuses to make any effort to reform itself, then we taxpayers have every right to deny them a raise.

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    Re: Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase

    Well, you are right. There is a large pool out there. Those are not the ones who get these jobs. Talent is not the most important factor as to who gets these jobs. They go to the politcally connected. Also, please do not distort my words -- I said arrogance and not corruption. There is a huge difference. Fabulously wealthy people are not an anymore corrupt group than any other group. However, they can be perceived as arrogant because they are out of touch with the financial issues facing the common man.

    Like I said, you are getting what you have refused to pay for. A group of jurists that are wealthier than 99% of all Americans and are unlikely to see things from the common man's perspective. Justice Roberts mentioned that we are going to have a judiciary comprised of only the very rich and those who have been public servants and see the position as a step up. Well, he was not being entirely frank with us because the truth is quite shocking. I have not seen any public servants ever appointed to the position of federal judge since the 1960's. These public servants lack the political muscle to get these appointments. If Roberts were truly being honest, then he would tell you that we are going to end up with a judiciary comprised of the very, very wealthy. I look around the federal courthouses I am familiar with, and that is my observation with a couple of rare exceptions.

    So, go ahead and continue fighting for these judges to continue to get these pay cuts. Ultimately, we will end up with a judiciary that is so aristocratic that it will make you think we were back in the 18th century. You will certainly never have a federal judiciary that financially looks anything like the face of America. In the meantime, all you will do is encourage other groups to lobby against fair military raises, which is certainly their right just as it is your right to favor pay cuts for federal judges.

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    Salt Lake City
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    Re: Judicial Salary Increase v. Military Salary Increase

    You make many conclusory statements. Nowhere do you argue that the judiciary has a duty to meet the highest ethical standards or that it even needs to try. The military, on the other hand, is constantly under pressure to meet high standards. Blame me if you want for the judiciary not getting a raise (although I think you attribute me with more influence that I have, since I am a blue collar worker, after all) but if they answer to no one than no one should give them a raise.

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