Justice urges boost in pay for judges
WASHINGTON - Chief Justice John Roberts said yesterday that Congress should be as generous to judges as it already has been to itself, by approving an inflation-related increase in their pay.
"I must renew the judiciary's modest petition: Simply provide cost-of-living increases that have been unfairly denied," Roberts said in his annual year-end report on the federal judiciary.
Alone among federal employees, judges will not receive a cost-of-living allowance in 2009. Members of Congress are getting a 2.8 percent boost, worth $4,700. But they refused before Christmas to give an identical increase to judges.
Federal trial judges are paid $169,300 a year. Appellate judges make more, ranging up to Roberts' salary of $217,400. The salaries pale in comparison to what lawyers earn in private practice.
Roberts also has pointed out that the 678 full-time trial judges who form the backbone of the federal judiciary are paid about half that of deans and senior law professors at top schools.
Judges last received a substantial pay raise in 1991.