NYCLA President Calls For Immediate Increase In Compensation For NY Supreme Court Judges

NYCLA President Stewart D. Aaron testified before the 2011 Commission on Judicial Compensation recommending "... an immediate increase in judicial salaries to a level of at least $190,000." Mr. Aaron joined with other bar association leaders and legal professionals in calling for a raise in judicial compensation together with cost-of-living increases for New York Supreme Court judges, who have not received a raise since 1999 and earn $136,700. In his testimony, Mr. Aaron expressed NYCLA's full endorsement of the Office of Court Administration's (OCA) submission supporting a salary increase for the judges, saying: "We all know that the pay for our state judges, when adjusted for inflation, has fallen 41 percent in the last 13 years, even as their workload has increased. When adjusted for cost of living, the salaries for New York judges rank dead last among judges in the 50 states, a shocking development for a state that prides itself on its tradition of excellence in the judiciary. Judicial pay has eroded so significantly that today senior law secretaries earn more than the judges for whom they work. And 20,000 employees in New York State and local governments earn more than Supreme Court justices."

Mr. Aaron noted the "corrosive effect that inadequate compensation could have on the integrity of our judiciary if the situation is not reversed." He noted, "With their burgeoning dockets replete with complex commercial cases, New York's courts cannot function without the demonstrated wisdom, skill and experience of judges from the private sector. As former Chief Justice Rehnquist has commented, experienced private lawyers bring to the bench 'a perspective and an independence that is vital to the judiciary.'"