Monday, February 13, 2006
Feinstein Introduces Measure to Increase Salaries of Federal Judges
By a MetNews Staff Writer
U.S. Senators Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and John Kerry, D-Mass., Friday introduced legislation which would provide a 16 percent increase in the salary of federal judges.
The pay of federal judges has decreased by almost 40 percent since 1969 when compared with pay in the private sector, the sponsors declared.
“While fairness alone would require a reasonable salary for judges, the growing pay disparity between judges and other members of the legal profession poses a real threat to the quality of our judiciary,” Feinstein said in a statement. “In order to ensure that our judiciary can continue to attract, and keep, top attorneys, the judges’ salaries must be increased to at least make up for some of the loss in real pay that has taken place in the last three decades.”
Since 1969, inflation adjusted salaries of federal judges have declined by almost 24 percent, while private sector salaries have increased by more than 15 percent, the statement said. During the same period, the caseload of district court judges has climbed by almost 60 percent and the caseload of federal appellate court judges has jumped more than 200 percent, the senators asserted.
Many first year law school graduates at the nation’s largest law firms make more than federal judges, and partners at these law firms routinely make three, four, or five times what federal judges make, the statement said.
The senators also warned that judges are leaving the federal bench in greater numbers now more than ever before. Since 1990, 92 judges have left the bench, and of those 21 left before reaching retirement age, the statement said.
The bill would:
•Increase the salaries of all federal judges by 16.5%;
•End the linkage between Congressional pay increases to judicial pay increases; and
•Provide federal judges with annual cost of living adjustments based on an index already used by the federal government.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company