New York’s chief judge is suing the state over its failure to increase judicial salaries.
The lawsuit by Chief Judge Judith Kaye was being filed today in Manhattan’s state Supreme Court, according to David Bookstaver, spokesman for the Office of Court Administration.
New York judges haven’t had a pay raise in 10 years.
In 1935, state judges had pay parity with senior partners in New York City law firms — but now they don’t even make as much as freshman associates there, according to Kaye’s lawyer, Bernard Nussbaum.
Compensation for New York’s 1,250 state-level judges now ranks 49th among states. Their pay ranges from $108,800 for a full-time city court judge to Kaye’s salary of $156,000.
Nussbaum, who is former counsel in the Clinton White House, has promised to bring Gov. David Paterson and other state leaders to the witness stand.
State leaders agree judges’ raises are overdue. But the issue has been tied by lawmakers to politically sensitive raises for the legislators themselves. Other state employees have had at least cost-of-living bumps.
The Senate has twice passed legislation to give judges raises, but the Assembly did not act on it.
Dan Weiller, a spokesman for Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, had no immediate comment on the lawsuit.
Seven other judges already have filed lawsuits over the issue.
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