There Go The Judges: An Exodus

If some members of the C.S.E.A. are not happy with the aforementioned three-year wage freeze, they should consider the plight

If some members of the C.S.E.A. are not happy with the aforementioned three-year wage freeze, they should consider the plight of the state’s judges. They haven’t gotten a pay hike since the last millennium.

Okay, it hasn’t been exactly a thousand years, but for these highly qualified, experienced judges, 12 years without a raise probably does feel like a millennium. Or at least a century. No wonder so many of them—about 10 percent a year—are leaving the judicial branch for better-paying jobs in the private sector.

A recent report in The New York Times noted that judges around the country are leaving the bench because of low pay, but the situation in New York is especially bad. The newspaper cited the case of a judge who quit his position and its $144,000-a-year salary for a partnership in the law firm of Dechert LLP, where, the paper noted, partners make about $1.4 million a year.

This exodus of talent and experience must stop. The governor and state legislators need to show more respect for their colleagues in the judicial branch. Unlike members of the Assembly and the State Senate, judges are full-time public servants who can’t make money on the side, as so many legislator-lawyers do.

A competent, experienced judiciary is a vital part of our civil society. The state must find resources to give the judges a necessary and well-deserved raise. They’ve been waiting long enough.

There Go The Judges: An Exodus