Now that Republican judges have taken over the Supreme Court, they are pushing the agenda item that is closest to their little, flinty hearts: their own paychecks.
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On the court for only a year, Chief John Roberts issued his annual report, which you might think would cover any number of crucial judicial issues facing our country – the increasing class bias of the justice system, for example, favoring corporate power over the rest of us. But, no, America’s top judge devoted his entire report to just one topic: the pay of federal judges. Indeed, the chief worked himself into such a rhetorical froth that he called the low pay of judges “a constitutional crisis.”
This black-robed pauper wailed that federal judicial salaries are set by law at the same level as congressional salaries, which are now a mere $165,200 a year. With tears welling in his eyes, Roberts noted that for five of the past 13 years, congress has even failed to provide a cost-of-living increase in this paltry pay. Breaking into sobs, he then blurted: “this situation is grievously unfair.”
Oh, judge, we feel your pain! The 94 percent of us Americans who make less than $165,200 a year and who get zero cost-of-living adjustments can clearly see the injustice you are suffering. We realize that you were a corporate lawyer making more than a million dollars a year before Bush put you on the high bench, so your public paycheck obviously amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. Gosh, if only you’d known what the job paid before you took it!
This is Jim Hightower saying… I think we need some people on the Supreme Court and in congress who come from the real workaday world, who’d see $165,200 a year as good pay, and who’d at least not insult regular Americans with self-serving gibberish about such pay being a “constitutional crisis.” Get a grip, Roberts, and go to work – or get off the bench.
“Chief Justice Advocates Higher Pay for Judiciary,” The New York Times, January 1, 2007.