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Questioning Pay Raises for Judges
By Karen DeWitt
Albany, NY – The New York State Court of Appeals has ruled that the legislature erred when it declined to give judges a pay raise.
The legislature has not approved a pay hike for state lawmakers in a dozen years, and has also refrained from giving judges a raise, following a tradition of linking any salary changes in the legislative branch of government to the pay for the judicial branch.
In a five to one ruling, the state's highest court said that policy violates the constitutional separation of powers, but the court did not order the legislature to immediatley approve pay raises for the judges who have long complained of being underpaid.
The state's chief judge, Jonathan Lippman obstained from the case, but later in a webcast to the state's judges said the ruling represents a ground breaking legal precedent.
Leaders of the legislature said they support a pay raise for judges, but said given the state's financial crisis, it's difficult right now to justify pay raises for anyone in public service.