Contact: Andrew Rush
Director, Media Services & Public Affairs

March 31, 2008


President-Elect Bernice Leber Says Government Leaders Have Failed NY Judges

At a press conference held today at the New York State Bar Association's Bar Center in Albany, Association President-Elect Bernice K. Leber of Manhattan(Arent Fox LLP) called on the Governor and Legislators to include a long overdue pay raise for judges as part of the final State Budget.

Noting that this is the second press conference in less than a year to be held at the Bar Center on this issue, Leber said, "As we approach another Budget deadline, two branches of our government once again have refused to provide proper compensation for the third branch. The Governor, the Senate and the Assembly all agree that our judges deserve and need a raise, but they have failed to act. We understand the need to close the state's looming deficit and we understand the desire of the Legislature to have a raise for themselves. However, we have an obligation to the judiciary and must act to provide them with the long-awaited salary increase they deserve."

Leber called for a raise immediately and also for the creation of an independent commission that would review judicial compensation every four years. New York's judges have not had an a raise since 1999 and according to the New York State Unified Court System, New York State judges' salaries rank 49th in the nation when adjusted for cost of living.

The press conference was called by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye and brought together a wide range of groups who are calling for a judicial pay raise. Those in attendance included judicial associations, good government groups, business groups and civic organizations.