All federal court judges -- from U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts down to bankruptcy court judges -- got five-figure raises because of a court ruling that erased pay freezes going back to 1995.Their salaries rose by 14 percent on Jan. 1, as years of catch-up cost-of-living adjustments were added to their paychecks.
“The law had promised them they would get these adjustments in the years all federal employees got them and Congress blocked them,” Washington lawyer Christopher Landau said in a telephone interview. Landau represented six judges who filed a 2009 lawsuit challenging the denial of pay raises.
During the 1990s, as the size of congressional paychecks became a political issue, lawmakers canceled four automatic cost-of-living bumps for themselves and the judiciary. That led to lawsuits, including a class action that the judges won.
The Court of Federal Claims in Washington issued the final order last month.
In letters to Congress on Oct. 29, 2013 and Dec. 4, 2013, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder informed lawmakers that the Justice Department was no longer contesting the court cases and would consent to applying pay adjustments to all members of the federal judiciary.
There are 781 members of the federal judiciary and 93 vacant judgeships, according to the U.S. Courts website. That figure doesn’t include senior judges -- who take a reduced work load and continue working part time.
New Salaries The chief justice is being paid $255,500, up from $223,500, according to court documents and data compiled by Bloomberg. Associate Supreme Court justices now have a $244,400 salary, up from $213,900. U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges are getting $211,200 a year, up from $184,500. The annual salary of a U.S. District Court judge increased to $199,100 from $174,000.
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Federal judges get cost of living increases