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The Logical Conclusion of Judicial Activism



If judges can decide that federal gun laws are inadequate, that lack of wrongdoing and causation don't preclude tort liability for pain manufacturers, and that votes must be counted differently in each county in order to assure victory for a particular candidate, why can't judges decide that their salaries are too low and that they must be raised NOW? Well, as the Wall $treet Journal reports, they are now doing just that.

New York Supreme Court Justice Edward Lehner has just ordered the state Senate and Assembly to pass a pay raise for judges within 90 days - and make retroactive to boot. The four judicial plaintiffs had suggested $600,000 each. For the New York Judiciary, that puts taxpayers on the line for $700 million.

New York Governor David Paterson was unamused. Only the state legislature has the power to set judicial salaries, his office rightly pointed out in a statement. The judge's decision "flies in the face of the state constitution."

What can we expect, though? People like Patterson applaud judicial disregard for precedent and law when it suits their purpose. Maybe this outrageous behavior will be a wake-up call to politicians on the left -- the Rule of Law serves us all, and regulation via litigation hurts us all.

Personally, I don't think judges (federal or state) are particularly underpaid at all. Alternative jobs do exist for judges, yet there is a constant demand for judicial jobs by people quite quite decent credentials, thank you very much. We would all like to make more money than we make, but few of us have the power to declare that the law demands this be the case.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy
rmangual@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.