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Pay Freeze for Judges Violates Constitution, Court Rules

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

New York's Court of Appeals has ruled that the state legislature erred when it declined to give judges a pay raise.

The legislature has not approved a pay hike for state lawmakers in a dozen years and has also refrained from giving judges a raise, following a tradition of linking any salary changes in the legislative branch of government to the pay for the judicial branch.

In a 5-to-1 ruling, the state's highest court says that policy violates the constitutional separation of powers. But the court did not order the legislature to immediately approve pay raises for the judges who have long complained of being under paid.

Leaders of the legislature say they support a pay raise for judges, but say given the state's financial crisis it's difficult right now to justify pay raises for anyone in public service.

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