Judges Sue for Back Pay

The Associated Press reported the class action filed by federal judges for additional pay. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in October ordered Congress to pay six federal judges years of back pay. A group of federal judges is pushing a class-action lawsuit to ensure all of the rest of the federal judges who also missed out on their cost-of-living increases get their due.

Congress in 1989 limited federal judges’ ability to earn money outside of their work on the bench and in exchange provided what was supposed to be automatic cost-of-living increases to judicial salaries to ensure inflation wouldn’t erode the value of those salaries over time.  Congress withheld those cost-of-living increases in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007 and 2010, while giving other federal employees their promised increases.  The Constitution says compensation for federal judges “shall not be diminished during their continuance in office,” so the judges say denying them a promised cost-of-living increase violates the Constitution’s Compensation Clause.


 

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