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11 December 2008

Judge not...oh well, nevermind

Howdy friends. Let's piece together a little common sense today shall we?

Judges are the designated arbiters of truth and justice; ergo, what is right and wrong. Senators? Eh, not so much.

Second, judges may or may not get paid what they are worth, just like you, me and the man on the moon. In any instance, judges who serve in the public sector should probably not expect to be paid what lawyers of equal experience make (not earn, but make) in the private sector. Agreed?

Next, the government bailout of every failing and suffering and mismanaged enterprise (except taxpaying family's that are struggling that is) is being funded by individual and corporate taxpayers like you and me. Like it or not, our tax money is fast filling the pockets of company's who could not fill them the good old fashioned way: with sales from paying customers.

"We pay, we play" worked in the school yard so shouldn't we have some say where and how are taxes are spent now? Think again Sport.

So how should we feel now that in the latest pimping of our tax money, some of our elected officials chose to - in addition to giving money to struggling car companies - they are planning on giving a bunch of judges raises too with the same allotment of taxpayer cash?

Its true. If (when) the $14 Billion auto bailout passes, our senate snuck in a provision to pay over 1200 federal judges nearly $5000 more apiece next year. Think we'll ever see that money again? What ever happened to an equity interest in these company's to insure that we will get value back from the money invested?

There are many disturbing irony's here. For starters, the money that was earmarked for one purpose is instead being used for another purpose. What would you do if you gave your kid $20 bucks to buy milk, eggs and bread and he instead bought beer and magazines? And what about that the misuse of our money is to pay judges of all people? In many cases, diversion of capital expenditures would be a criminal or civil violation, yes? Yet, try to get a court to hear that argument now, eh? Ha. Ironic indeed.

Federal judges, the recipients of said bailout funds, are appointed for life, their life. That means that they can not lose their job unless they die. How about you? How stable is your job right now? Your honor earns nearly $170,000 a year now. So that they can keep up with the federally mandated pay raises of Congressmen and women they will be given almost 3% more next year, just like your US Senate will. What? You don't have a federally mandated raise each year? Sucker.

The United States Constitution specifically provides that the compensation of federal judges "shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office," which means that no one can reduce their salary. In addition to their lifetime appointment, the intent is to keep their cases free from "popular passions and political influence". Obviously our founding fathers didn't anticipate the ramifications of a well-timed pay raise though huh?

"Desperate times deserve desperate measures" comes to mind when I think of using taxes collected by the government to bail out a industry needed to sustain our economy. Where does giving a dude a raise who is already guaranteed a paycheck for life fit into that model of desperation?!?

So who is the mouthpiece of this darling piece of legislative horse hockey? Why none other than Senate Majority leader Harry Reid of Nevada. The same Harry Reid that was caught red handed transferring land he owned in Nevada to a crooked friend, so Reid could in turn benefit from a $1.1 million dollar windfall profit without having to disclose it on those pesky federally mandated disclosure forms for senators. Unfortunately for Americans, Reid has not seen the inside of a courtroom yet for this misdeed and misuse of power. Fortunately for Reid though, any judge who would hear such a case just got a $5000 raise, courtesy of Reid. Hmmmm.

The Senate's Democratic Caucus said this about Reid: "It is hard to imagine a better model for leadership." I'd say that is proof that nobody can ever accuse our senate from having an active imagination. Of course, keep in mind that they all will get raises this year too.

Please keep these poor shysters elected citizens in your thoughts this holiday season whilst you wonder if the flailing economy will gobble up your non-federally mandated job too.


Anonymous said...

So, you're implying that a 5K raise will sway the opinion of federal judges? I agree that the raise should not be earmarked within bailout funds, but trying to gain favor of federal judges with 5k is like pissing in the wind. It's just stupid.

Michael M. said...

Anon, no federal judge I've ever met would likely be swayed, but Ethics 101 (and Economics 101) suggests that it is easier to get what you want with $5000 than without. It looks bad, smells bad and therefore runs the risk of tarnishing an otherwise reputable position. Our government could use more untarnished positions too, wouldn't you agree?

Thanks for your comment Anon.

Anonymous said...

Pardon my confusion, but it seems as though you are accusing federal judges of being somewhat unethical because of a 5k raise put into place not by the judiciary, but by congress.

I agree that the origin of the funds is questionable, but I disagree with the suggestion that it was intended to "grease the wheels".

Even if it were intended as a bribe, it's a taxable bribe. So that 5k, in reality is only about $3300.

Michael M. said...

A judge wouldn't be unethical just for receiving a pay raise.

However, because of Reid's 'stamp' on this unusual pay increase measure, I suspect most judges would/should recuse themselves if ever asked to rule on a case involving Reid.

THAT is the smelly pile of doo-doo here, as outlined in my post.

Your confusion - and your disagreement - is pardoned, Anon.

Thanks for your comment - and the tax lesson.