So this is it. My last post for Abnormal Use. Instead of taking time to wax comedic about products liability claims, I thought I’d take this to serioustown for an observation about the silent victims of the judicial budget criss. The victims I’m referring to are the members of the state and federal judiciary.
There are any number of articles you can Google about the judicial budget crisis, so there’s no need to recap them here. To some extent, this crisis is nothing new for our courts. The past few years have been difficult for everyone, with relatively few folks in any industry seeing any pay increase. This has been especially true for judges, who in large part, have seen the value of their salary steadily decline over the past 20 years. In the federal judiciary, for example, there have been no pay increases over that time period and few cost of living adjustments. Even as other branches of the federal government have had increases and adjustments. This is unacceptable. We are glad to see that one group of federal judges has already successfully sued the government for having been unjustly compensated, and that another group is organizing into a class action for the benefit of all similarly situated judges.
There’s something confidence-inspiring about seeing judges sue their own government for the redress of their grievances.
Some may say So what? Who cares? I care. And not just because I’m a lawyer. I care because I believe the judiciary is the soul of the American republic. An impartial system of dispute resolution is critical for maintaining order and liberty. If there’s no such system of dispute resolution—or if it’s so slow that it might as well not exist, then people will start taking subjective notions of justice into their own hands. And that is a frightening thought. I honestly believe that you could take away executive and legislative institutions right now, and society, in its crippled state, would still hobble forward. But if you took away judicial institutions, society would collapse on itself in no time at all.
It’s been fun writing for the blog and reporting stupid cases from coast to coast. However, we’re able to laugh at those cases only because there’s an orderly system through which those disputes may be resolved. As we head through these strange economic times, I hope and pray that those with the ability to make budgetary decisions for government institutions will act fairly towards members of the judiciary and responsibly towards the longevity of the American experiment.
And with that, goodbye. Farewell. And amen.