The problem with Chief Justice Rehnquist’s push for a 30% pay raise for all federal judges is that it comes in the late 1980s when the nation is mired in debt; and large segments of American middle and working classes have seen stagnation and decline in their own real earnings, while the working poor are lucky to have a place to live. Unfortunately, judges are not alone in their sense of deprivation.
The fact that Ronald Reagan appointed so many federal judges during his term in office makes it important that they share in the consequences of Reagan priorities--no money left for anyone’s projects. Someone should ask Rehnquist how he thinks the rest of the people “educate their kids.” If his commitment to justice was half as great as his faith in inequality, we’d see one of the best chief justices of all time.
In addition, it is frightening to realize that, as Rehnquist put it, only experienced and respected lawyers are appointed to the federal bench. This means that after these lawyers have made a successful career out of selling their moral support to whomever will pay the most, they think they’re qualified to judge the rest of us. They’re lucky the public tolerates them at all. If a lawyer’s motivation is money, I’d rather not see him in a black robe passing out sentences to everyone else; he is well lost to the public as a federal judge.