Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Do federal judges deserve more pay?

It's a testament to how out-of-control the judiciary is: in a year-end message, John Roberts spent all eight pages talking about federal judges' salaries. Call me cynical, but I wonder if Roberts found himself with more Christmas bills than he thought.

Roberts would have had a point had he argued as Thomas Sowell did about members of Congress: lesser salaries won't attract top minds from the private sector. But Sowell would couple million-dollar salaries with term limits. Roberts is talking about the very opposite:
"Inadequate compensation directly threatens the viability of life tenure, and if tenure in office is made uncertain, the strength and independence judges need to uphold the rule of law - even when it is unpopular to do so - will be seriously eroded," Roberts wrote.
Sowell justifies his position by saying that while public service is a noble concept, people are still human. Robert's argument, based on tenure, is along the same lines and would have some merit, until we think about what "judicial independence" has gotten us. That's the problem with lifetime appointments: judges can pretty much rule however they'd like, and they'll get away with it.

Maybe I'll feel bad for these impoverished federal judges when Victor Marrero reverses his anti-freedom ruling that forced public law on private property. Maybe I'll think they actually deserve any sort of pay when Stevens, Kennedy, Souter, Ginsberg and Breyer apologize and make restitution to Susette Kelo and the other victims of one of the most tyrannical judicial decisions ever.

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