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Federal Judges Sue to Win Promised Pay Increases
Associated Press ^ | December 14th, 2012 | Jesse L. Holland

Posted on 12/14/2012 11:17:54 AM PST by Jacquerie

WASHINGTON (AP) -- With the nation teetering on an economic "fiscal cliff," federal judges may soon force Congress to dedicate possibly millions of dollars to what some of those same judges must consider a worthy cause: their own salaries.

Congress in 1989 limited federal judges' ability to earn money outside of their work on the bench and in exchange provided what was supposed to be automatic cost-of-living increases to judicial salaries to ensure inflation wouldn't erode the value of those salaries over time.

U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson Jr. of Texas, one of the judges seeking class-action status, called that a "binding commitment" made by the legislative branch for the judicial branch to "receive the same yearly COLAs awarded to all other federal employees, to keep us even with inflation."

But instead of following through, Congress withheld those cost-of-living increases in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007 and 2010, while giving other federal employees their promised increases. "In our view, the exclusion is contrary to the commitment to us, so we have sued to enforce it," said Furgeson, a senior judge who also serves as the president of the Federal Judges Association.

(Excerpt) Read more at hosted.ap.org ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Government
KEYWORDS: constitution; courts
The rest of the government is on salary autopilot, why not the black-robes?
1 posted on 12/14/2012 11:18:03 AM PST by Jacquerie
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To: Jacquerie

We have to drop this nonsense about legislatures making contracts with people. No, they pass laws. It isn’t even the same Congress, and it’s perverse to pretend like it is. There’s no reason why one Congress should get to tie a future Congress’s hands. Especially not only for employment contracts. Why should that be the one area in which legislatures can’t reverse previous ones? Aside from the special esteem government workers feel for their own work.


2 posted on 12/14/2012 11:59:38 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Jacquerie

Just to add a little accuracy to the reporting, all Federal Employees are in the third year of a pay freeze. I am not saying that shouldn’t be so, or that federal employees are not (in some or even many cases) overpaid. I am just saying that salaries are not on “autopilot”.

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/08/22/obama-extends-2-year-federal-pay-freeze-until-at-least-next-spring/


3 posted on 12/14/2012 12:10:12 PM PST by oldernittany
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To: Jacquerie

Sounds like they’re copying NJ judges. The legislature passed a law that all state employees had to pay a percentage of their health care premium, with the percentage increasing as an employee’s salary increased. A judge promptly filed a lawsuit, claiming that the state constitution wouldn’t allow the legislature to reduce judges’ salaries & such a health care percentage increase was an illegal reduction. Of course the appellate & supreme court divisions upheld his lawsuit. Fortunately, a state legislator got a constitutional modification on the ballot allowing such “reductions” and the voters passed it.
We’re waiting for the judges to rule that modification as unconstitutional as well.


4 posted on 12/14/2012 12:12:10 PM PST by JoyjoyfromNJ (everything written by me on FR is my personal opinion & does not represent my employer)
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To: Jacquerie
public employees are just going to have to get what unaccountable, corrupt politicians have promised them. if it means the 47 % just have to work two jobs and pay more taxes, well, so be it. asking judges to decide if they are to be paid or not....well...let me guess the outcome.
5 posted on 12/14/2012 12:21:22 PM PST by paul51 (11 September 2001 - Never forget)
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To: Tublecane
There’s no reason why one Congress should get to tie a future Congress’s hands.

Bingo. The next Congress is independent from this Congress. Which is exactly why any promise of future spending reductions is no promise at all because today's Congress cannot compel action in the next Congress.

6 posted on 12/14/2012 12:22:21 PM PST by Sgt_Schultze (A half-truth is a complete lie)
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To: Jacquerie

...so a bunch of judges are going to go and ask a sitting judge to decide whether or not judges should get pay raises?

Gee - I wonder if the judges will win that....


7 posted on 12/14/2012 12:24:27 PM PST by Tzimisce (What do you do when every every branch of the government is corrupt and aligned against you?)
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To: JoyjoyfromNJ

Why on earth would the NJ constitution forbid reducing judges salaries? Aside from the power of the government employee lobby and constituency, I mean. Or have I answered my own question?


8 posted on 12/14/2012 12:26:52 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: oldernittany

Were step/longevity increases frozen as well?


9 posted on 12/14/2012 12:28:00 PM PST by Jacquerie ("How few were left who had seen the republic!" - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: Tublecane

Well said. If they don’t like their salary and benefits they should resign. There’s no shortage of lawyers to replace them.


10 posted on 12/14/2012 12:29:50 PM PST by Jacquerie ("How few were left who had seen the republic!" - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: Sgt_Schultze

There’s an easy way to explain how bad this is to libs. The government employee faction ain’t listen, but screw them. Tell them to imagine the Patriot Act or the ‘01 tax cuts were ruled a contract with or a “binding commitment” to the American people, and that today’s Congress has no authority to vote them down. Then watch steam blow out of their ears.


11 posted on 12/14/2012 12:34:51 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: JoyjoyfromNJ
A stinkin’ FL state judge overturned a recent law passed by our 2010 tea party legislature. IIRC, it deducted 3% of state employee salaries for their healthcare. We're back to square one where taxpayers foot the entire bill.
12 posted on 12/14/2012 12:35:39 PM PST by Jacquerie ("How few were left who had seen the republic!" - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: Jacquerie

The person who graduates at the bottom of his medical school class is called “Doctor”. What’s the person who graduates at the bottm of his law school class called?


13 posted on 12/14/2012 12:38:59 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: Mr. Lucky

Senator.


14 posted on 12/14/2012 12:41:59 PM PST by Jacquerie ("How few were left who had seen the republic!" - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: Mr. Lucky

Joe Biden


15 posted on 12/14/2012 12:50:21 PM PST by dennisw (The first principle is to find out who you are then you can achieve anything)
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To: oldernittany

And the senate hasn’t passed a budget in three years. Just sayin’.


16 posted on 12/14/2012 12:52:19 PM PST by printhead (Standard & Poor - Poor is the new standard.)
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To: Tublecane
Why on earth would the NJ constitution forbid reducing judges salaries?

A possible answer? Under a system of checks and balances, a judicial branch is supposed to be a check on both the legislative and executive branches.

It's hard for the judicial branch to be a check on the legislative branch if the legislative branch can reduce judicial salaries each time the legislative branch disagrees with a judicial opinion.

17 posted on 12/14/2012 12:57:21 PM PST by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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To: Jacquerie

Judges should have term limits to avoid corruption.


18 posted on 12/14/2012 12:59:57 PM PST by Enough is ENOUGH (This is a whole different world we live in now. We'd better wise up.)
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To: Jacquerie

Federal judges have the biggest taxpayer-subsidized gig going. They have a job with enormous power and prestige, taxpayer-subsidized junkets to annual, lavish “judicial conferences” where they can hobnob with their “guests” (usually lawyers who practice in their courts), no personal office overhead, and no personal liability. But, the best comes at retirement: without having to contribute to a pension plan or worry about the risks associated with investing, they get their full salary upon retirement. Think about the value of that over the course of a judgeship: a risk-free, no cost, 100% guaranteed lifetime salary. And, we foot the bill. Yes, they need more of our money.


19 posted on 12/14/2012 1:06:10 PM PST by The Anti-Democrat
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To: Enough is ENOUGH

Agree. All politicians should be term limited.


20 posted on 12/14/2012 1:06:46 PM PST by Jacquerie ("How few were left who had seen the republic!" - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: Jacquerie
All politicians should be term limited.

Umm... They are.

That's why there are elections. If voters don't like an incumbent, they are free to vote the bum out.

Why do you want to take away the right of voters to choose who represents them?

21 posted on 12/14/2012 1:09:07 PM PST by TChris ("Hello", the politician lied.)
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To: Scoutmaster

That’s a rather roundabout explanation, and anyway has nothing to do with the actual case. Ifsoever Congress attempted to control the judiciary in that manner I think it might run afoul of the ban on bills of attainder. They could only really punish classes of judges, and that would be an inefficient way to get them back for specific rulings.

Judges couldn’t forestall Congress from reducing salaries on whole classes of judges because they may be punitive. Congress does, after all, hold the purse strings. That is their check (or balance); the judiciary can’t take it away.

By the way, if Congress wants to punish judges for bad rulings the correct route is impeachment. It was a sad day for the Republic whenever it was we decided to against political impeachment.


22 posted on 12/14/2012 1:11:34 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: TChris

That’s not a term limit, and I think you know it. Voters have no right to choose who represents them. There is merely a system whereby we allow them to vote according to various limitations. For instance, they can’t suddenly choose to vote a Congressman out in the middle of his term, no matter how many voters agree. They can’t elect a president to a third term. This is so because we were stuck with FDR as president for life because voters are stupid.


23 posted on 12/14/2012 1:15:21 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: TChris
Why do you want to take away the right of voters to choose who represents them?

I do not recognize what you term as a "right."

The Framers did very well with our Constitution, but dropped the ball when it came to rotation in office. Previous Framers got it right in the Articles of Confederation. The annually appointed reps to Congress were limited to three years out of any term of six years. They were also subject to recall by their states.

Rotation in office would largely preclude career politicians and discourage the rise of demagogues. Returning to the real world to make an honest living on a regular basis would do wonders for our once republic.

24 posted on 12/14/2012 1:23:46 PM PST by Jacquerie ("How few were left who had seen the republic!" - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: Tzimisce
...so a bunch of judges are going to go and ask a sitting judge to decide whether or not judges should get pay raises? Gee - I wonder if the judges will win that....

If that judge would be held accountable by those whose sworn duty it is to do so, your wonder might be genuine.

25 posted on 12/14/2012 1:33:27 PM PST by newgeezer ("... no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God." --Rom. 13:1)
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To: newgeezer

Speaking of accountable, two of the FL supremos responsible for the Bush/Gore debacle in 2000 were up for retention votes last month.

Both were retained with about 70% of the popular vote.


26 posted on 12/14/2012 1:39:05 PM PST by Jacquerie ("How few were left who had seen the republic!" - Tacitus, The Annals)
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To: TChris

Here. Here. Agreed.


27 posted on 12/14/2012 2:06:04 PM PST by plain talk
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To: Tublecane
That’s a rather roundabout explanation, and anyway has nothing to do with the actual case.

I didn't mention the actual case; I responded to an extremely general question.

I also didn't mention the decrease in salary of an individual judge's salary. Your original general question used the word "judges" without an apostrophe. It wasn't clear whether you were referring to an individual judge (judge's) or two or more judges (judges'), and I interpreted your question to mean an entire class of judges.

I apologize.

28 posted on 12/14/2012 2:07:53 PM PST by Scoutmaster (You knew the job was dangerous when you took it)
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To: dennisw; Jacquerie

I was thinking “Your Honor”, but your answers are just as good.


29 posted on 12/14/2012 2:12:08 PM PST by Mr. Lucky
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To: Scoutmaster

No need to apologize. Mu general-seeming questing was supposed to pertain to the case in question. I’d still like to know why you think Congress reducing classes of judges’ salaries, even if specifically designed to punish them for what they consider bad rulings, would be something the judiciary could prevent within the checks and balances system. What check do judges have on Congress’s power of the purse?


30 posted on 12/14/2012 3:16:18 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: Scoutmaster

No need to apologize. My general-seeming questing was supposed to pertain to the case in question. I’d still like to know why you think Congress reducing classes of judges’ salaries, even if specifically designed to punish them for what they consider bad rulings, would be something the judiciary could prevent within the checks and balances system. What check do judges have on Congress’s power of the purse?


31 posted on 12/14/2012 3:16:22 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: Scoutmaster

What checks apart from when Congress spends unconstitutionally, I mean.


32 posted on 12/14/2012 3:17:29 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: Scoutmaster

Oh, damnable. I screwdriver up which cases we were talking about. Nevermind about Congress and all that. NJ’s constitution is another matter.


33 posted on 12/14/2012 3:19:57 PM PST by Tublecane
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To: Jacquerie

Gee...If they sue in feral court, who could possibly hear the case, given the blatant conflict of interest?


34 posted on 12/14/2012 3:38:03 PM PST by rottndog (Be Prepared.....for what's coming AFTER America.)
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To: Jacquerie

Royal Furgeson Jr. of Texas won’t understand the ire that Americans have towards these black-robed commies until he’s hanging from a lamppost.


35 posted on 12/14/2012 5:44:25 PM PST by sergeantdave (The FBI has declared war on the Marine Corps)
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