Federal Judges Lose Pay Raise Battle, Again

Financial crisis kills hike, leaves bench feeling shortchanged
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2009 2:07 PM CST
In this Nov. 16, 2007 file photo, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts pauses during a speech in Washington.    (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)
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(Newser) – Federal judges went without a cost-of-living pay increase yet again in 2008, the LA Times reports. A quirk in federal law prevents judges from getting the automatic raises other federal employees get, and the financial crisis derailed a bill that would have upped their pay by 28%. John Roberts is not pleased. “Courts cannot preserve their vitality simply by following a nonfat regimen,” the chief justice fumed in his year-end report.

“Judges knew what the pay was when they answered the call of public service. But they did not know that Congress would steadily erode that pay in real terms,” he argued. This is the sixth time in the past 15 years judges have gone without the raise; their pay ranges from $169,300 a year for district judges to Roberts’ $217,400 salary.