Judges' pay

March 08, 1998

MARYLAND HAS long enjoyed the benefits of a justice system administered by highly qualified and respected judges. But in recent years, salaries for state judges have failed to keep pace with those in other states and in the federal judiciary. Meanwhile, the compensation available for good lawyers in the private sector far outstrips the financial rewards of serving as a judge.

In considering these factors, along with Maryland's strong fiscal picture, the state's Judicial Compensation Commission has recommended an across-the-board salary increase for state judges of $11,275. Last week, the Senate concurred. Because it takes the agreement of both houses of the legislature to scuttle the commission's recommendation, the Senate's action ensures that the raise will take effect.

Legislators have not been shy about rejecting proposals in the past. But this year, the state can afford the raise and ought to grant it. The commission has recommended raises only four times in the past nine years; twice the legislature rejected the proposals and once granted only part of the increase.

Maryland enjoys a comparatively high quality of justice, free of the scandals that have tainted courts elsewhere. The pay raise recommended by the commission is a good investment in a sound and stable system of justice.

Pub Date: 3/08/98

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