"And what does the LORD require of you But to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God"
-- Micah 6:8

"The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict."
-- American Bar Association Standard 3-1.2(c)

"There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia."
--Pope Benedict XVI, June 2004

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Help Wanted: Federal Judge, Low Pay, Great Perks

Federal Judges need a 100% pay increase, to keep them competitive with... English and Canadian judges, according to the lobbying group that gives the legal profession such a fine reputation, the American Trial Lawyer's Association.

But don't fret, if you're one of these underpaid federal judges. The ATLA says the doubling of your $165, 000 salary (what a lowly District judge makes) is "only the beginning."

Apparently, a "problem" exists because only sub-standard lawyers want to be federal judges because the pay is so little. What, you may ask, is a substandard lawyer? According to ATLA's logic, the lawyers who makes lots of money are the good ones, and the lawyers who make not so much are the crummy ones.

So the reasoning goes: if we pay judges more, then the "good" lawyers (= the highly paid lawyers, like those in the personal injury bar the ATLA represents) will want to be judges, and the "bad" lawyers (=the ones who make less than $165,000) will be weeded out of the process.

Got it? Your talent as a lawyer is gauged by the amount of money you earn. Judges should be paid enough to make their salaries comparable with... oh I dunno, the ambulance chasers of ATLA.

As they say, I am NOT making this up.

HT: SW Virginia Law Blog


Jon Katz said...

Tom: I have refrained from posting any comments to your blog, so as not to dignify its views about prosecuting and policing that, in my opinion, go far beyond reasoned debate to revealing a prosecutor who would be shredding the Constitution if you were practicing as you preach. (I have not had any cases against you -- nor seen you in court -- to know anything about you other than what is in your blog). (On the other, as to your blogpost on federal judge pay, you, Ralph Nader, and I seem at least to have one thing in common, which is to be on an opposite side from those rushing to substantially increase pay for federal judges.)

Only as a for instance, you repeatedly and zealously support an active death penalty machine -- going far beyond supporting executions for such situations as inmates who kill in prison (which would likely give even many death penalty abolitionists, but not I, cause for pause about being absolutely against all executions -- despite the severe failings of the death penalty machine, including, but not limited to, inadequate pay and resourcing in too many jurisdictions for there to be sufficiently competent counsel for death penalty defendants (and I am not talking about merely satisfying the meager low threshold established by the Supreme Court's Strickland decision), the rampant racism in the death penalty system (including jury racism, which has been far from eradicated in the United States), and repeatedly erroneous jury convictions (as proven so often by such groups as the Innocence Project and by the tragic wrongful conviction of Kirk Bloodsworth in Maryland, whose lawyer Robert Morin now serves as a D.C. Superior Court judge).

Consequently, I list your blog on my blogroll -- rather than simply omitting it -- under the moniker "Seeking [In]Justice", because I believe it is important to know the opposition, and because so few prosecutors have your willingness or courage to establish blogs with their regular non-anonymous and unvarnished views about prosecuting. At the very least, I thank you for revealing your views -- as much as I oppose them -- rather than your keeping your views under wraps.

As to your "Opposing Diversity" blogposting from March 26, please be so kind to Angela Jordan Davis as to let your readers know that you were factually inaccurate to suggest she is one and the same with radical activist Angela Yvonne Davis.

The Angela Jordan Davis quoted in the Nation article referenced in your blogpost is a former D.C. Public Defender who is now a law professor at American University. http://www.wcl.american.edu/faculty/cv/adavis.pdf?rd=1

Your blogpost mixes that Angela Davis with Angela Yvonne Davis. http://voices.cla.umn.edu/vg/Bios/entries/davis_angela_yvonne.html .

One day we might have one or more cases against each other. From your blog, perhaps I'll have a better idea about whom I'd be dealing with.

Jon Katz, from the Underdog Blog.

Tom McKenna said...

Jon: I read your blog often and disagree with it probably as much as you disagree with mine... but as you say, know thy opponent.

Thanks for the correction on Angela Davis. I shall correct the post in question.