Matter of Maron v. Silver
New York Law Journal
November 19, 2008
Mercure, J.P., Peters, Rose, Lahtinen and Kane, JJ.
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DESPITE DESCRIBING their lack of a pay raise as "deplorable" and saying that New York's judges "undisputed[ly]" deserve a raise, the appellate court dismissed a lawsuit by judges who had sought to force the state to grant them their first increase since 1999. The panel's majority rejected the two grounds that a supreme court recognized in 2007: that the lack of a pay raise imperilled judicial independence by forcing judges to resign and that the refusal to increase judicial salaries was in retaliation for their rulings on controversial issues. The panel noted that the drafters of New York's current constitutional compensation clause knew of the effect of inflation on judicial pay and of the dangers to judicial independence when the Legislature holds the power to increase such compensation. Among other things, the panel viewed the judges' claim of retaliatory motive "highly speculative" absent affirmative acts by the Legislature, indicating such an intent to react to the judiciary's controversial decisions.