Federal judges sue for cost-of-living salary increases


Seven federal judges are suing the United States to provide years of unpaid cost-of-living adjustments in an action that seeks class-action status.

The suit (.pdf) filed Nov. 30 and whose plaintiffs includes the president of the Federal Judges Association, U.S. District Judge W. Royal Furgeson Jr. of Texas, seeks to extend to all federal judges cost-of-living back pay similar to what was recently afforded to specific judges through a case decided in October.

In that Oct. 5, 2012 ruling (.pdf), a federal appeals court said not paying cost-of-living adjustments amounted to unconstitutional cuts in judicial pay.

This new suit wants to apply that same reasoning to the more than 1,000 federal judges, stating that Congress has violated the Constitution's Compensation Clause--which holds that judges' compensation "shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office"-- when it did not pay federal judges the mandated pay raises in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007 and 2010.

Salaries would have been raised by roughly $60,000 to $90,000 the American Bar Association told the Associated Press.

The judges are seeking a class action for all federal judges employed at any time from 2006 to the suit's Nov. 30 filing.

For more:
- download the complaint, Barker v. United States (.pdf)
- download the Oct. 5 decision, Beer v. United States (.pdf)

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