In the News

Increased Pay For Judges

First publish: Sunday, March 18, 2007

The New York Times, By Barry Kamins

To the Editor:

Pay raises are long overdue for New York´s judiciary, which has maintained its longstanding excellence even in the face of staggering caseloads and increasingly complex legal issues (“Upgrading New York’s Courts,” editorial, March 11). The continuing failure to provide judicial salary increases is simply unwise public policy.

The disparity between private-sector and judicial salaries grows every year. Any 2007 first­year associate at a major Manhattan law firm will immediately earn more than every judge in the state, including Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye. The more this disparity widens, the more difficult it will be to both attract and retain a qualified and dedicated judiciary.

Furthermore, leaving our judges without pay increases since 1999 is simply not fair. When they take off their robes, judges have to pay bills just as we do. An unresponsive Legislature is creating a disheartened bench, whose professional morale is at an all­time low. Many judges are beginning to regret their decision to seek a judgeship in the first place.

Judges should be provided compensation commensurate with the solemn duty of dispensing justice.

Barry Kamins
New York City Bar Association