How would you handle this case?


Tom Garrett 4 years ago

The current salary for district court judges is $174,000, and for circuit court judges, $184,500.

Back in 1989, Congress wisely limited federal judges' ability to earn money outside of their work on the bench because it might result in a conflict of interest or time spent worrying about other things than deciding cases. But not too wisely, Congress added automatic cost-of-living increases to judicial salaries to ensure inflation wouldn't erode the value of those salaries over time.

However, Congress decided in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007 and 2010, while giving other federal employees their COLA increases, not to give them to the judges.

According to the American Bar Association, if all of the promised cost-of-living adjustments had been paid, circuit and district court judges' salaries would be $262,000 and $247,000 instead of $174,000 and $184,000.

Six judges have sued for the money they didn't get. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in October ordered Congress to pay them their years of back pay. The weird thing about it is that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit was in essence saying that they, themselves, should also get the money.

If you doubt that, you should know that the rest of the judges, including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, have filed a class-action suit to get their dough. Harry P. Susman, the lawyer representing the judges says the judges have been trying to get Congress to fix their salary problems for years to no avail, so going to court is their only option, he said. "It's a tough situation."

I can see that. It would be tough to live on $174,000 a year.

Back in 1980 the Supreme Court in a case called United States v. Will ruled that Congress did not have to give judges cost-of-living adjustments--if lawmakers took it away before it was added into judicial salaries.

And the new case is going to the Supreme Court.

I know how I would decide this case. How about you?


Pat Randall 4 years ago

Are these judges appointed or elected? How can they be taken out of office? Anyone that can't live on thier pay need to change thier way of living.


Tom Garrett 4 years ago


I agree.

Because I have been reading about Washington so much over the past years and a half, I have come to see something that is really wrong. In each administration, and carried on during the next administration from the same party, the same people run things. Year after year, and election after election, the same names, just shuffled around from position to position.

That may not be too surprising, but what amazes me is this: The same small group of people, almost all of them coming from a few elitists universities back east--Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and the like--are shifted from job to job. Today, someone is running the Department of Defense, tomorrow he or she is running the CIA, then the Justice Department, then the State Department, the Treasury, Homeland security--anything.

It's just a giant game of musical chairs, with no thought regarding qualifications. And the part that gets me worst of all is the fact that the same names come up every time some office comes open for discussion. Over and over and over again.

Wouldn't someone wonder how someone like Condolezza Rice, who was the lousiest Nation security Advisor the nation ever had, would make a good Secretary of State? How about Alexander Haig, who takes the direct credit for the loss in Vietnam? How is that a recommendation for the State Department?

And when you read the list of who preceded or succeeded who, it looks like this:

Preceded by Alexander Haig Succeeded by Condolezza Rice Preceded by Henry Kissinger Succeeded by Caspar Weinberger Preceded by Donald Rumsfeld Succeeded by Donald Rumsfeld Preceded by James Schlesinger Succeeded by Alexander Haig Preceded by Donald Rumsfeld Succeeded by Robert Gates Preceded by Alexander Haig Succeeded by Dick Cheney

And that's only if you go into the top jobs. If you look at the under-this, and the assistant-that, and the deputy-whoever, it looks like the same people have been running the country forever.

And get this: As hard as it maye be to believe, some Supreme Court Justices never in their lives were judges before they were appointed to the Supreme Court. I'll name just a few recent ones, but there are a LOT more:

Earl Warren (Governor of California) Arthur Goldberg (Secretary of Labor) Abe Fortas (Lawyer) Harold Burton (Senator) Tom Clark (Attorney General) Byron White (Attorney General) Lewis Powell (Lawyer) Elena Kagan (Solicitor General)

How does being Governor of California or Secretary of Labor qualify you to make judgments in the most important court on the planet?


Pat Randall 4 years ago

Were they all lawyers and if so did they ever practice law?


Tom Garrett 4 years ago

Too much reseach, Pat.

Maybe this will help:

Sixty percent of current U. S. Senators are lawyers.

Thirty percent of current U. S. Representatives are lawyers.

Of our 43 presidents, 25 have been lawyers.

The real question in my mind is this: If I were going to hire a carpenter, wouldn't I want to know how much experience he had--as a carpenter! If I went to a surgeon, wouldn't I want him to have experience as a surgeon? If I were choosing someone to serve on the highest court in the nation, why would I not look among judges?

Look at what happened with Earl Warren. In the next post I'll show you how he became Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.


Tom Garrett 4 years ago

From Wiki, but accurate according to two biographies of Ike that I have read,

"In 1952, Warren stood as a "favorite son" candidate of California for the Republican nomination for President, hoping to be a power broker in a convention that might be deadlocked. But Warren had to head off a revolt by Senator Richard M. Nixon, who supported General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Eisenhower and Nixon were elected, and the bad blood between Warren and Nixon was apparent. Eisenhower offered, and Warren accepted, the post of solicitor general, with the promise of a seat on the Supreme Court. But before it was announced, Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson died suddenly in September 1953 and Eisenhower picked Warren to replace him as Chief Justice of the United States."

"In the next few years Warren led the Court in a series of liberal decisions that revolutionized the role of the Court. Eisenhower is often said to have remarked that his appointment was 'the biggest fool mistake I ever made.'"


Pat Randall 4 years ago

Tom, Don't all attorneys try to prove thier clients innocent even when they know they are guilty ? What does that say about them?


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