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Judicial pay case gets ABA support

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The American Bar Association wants the Supreme Court of the United States to take a case that asks whether congressional denial of cost-of-living adjustments for federal judges compromises judicial independence and violates the Constitution.

Eight current or former federal judges from District and Circuit levels are embroiled in litigation that’s gone as high as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which challenges the lawmakers’ refusal to adjust salaries six times during the past 20 years – even though the Ethics Reform Act of 1989 stipulated that Congress would have to authorize these “non-discretionary” automatic annual COLAs for federal judges and other senior officials.

The judges initially filed suit in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in January 2009, but the court dismissed that complaint, Peter H. Beer, et al. v. U.S., No. 09-1395, in October. The judges appealed and filed for a ruling en banc with the Federal Circuit, but the appellate court declined in January. The judges filed a writ for certiorari in May.

In a brief filed June 17, the ABA contends that the justices’ review is warranted because the continued diminution of judicial salaries threatens the judiciary’s independence and quality of work. Judges across the nation have advocated for salary increases for the federal judiciary, including those from Indiana and members of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Chief Justice John Roberts has called for Congress to raise judges’ salaries by as much as 24 percent, and he has said that low salaries hurt the courts’ ability to hire and retain qualified judges.
 

Rehearing of "Judicial COLA loses carbonation again" IL Dec. 24, 2008-Jan. 6, 2009

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  1. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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