The chief judge of New York’s highest state court, Judith Kaye, is displaying her usual chutzpah. She’s suing in state court, demanding a pay raise for herself and other state judges, even though judicial pay is supposed to be set by legislatures, not courts. That raises the specter of judicial bias and conflict of interest, since she’s effectively asking state judges to rule on their own pay — the very judges whose rulings in future cases will be appealed to her own court.
The irony is that if there ever were a state judge who deserved a pay cut, it’s Judith Kaye, given her rotten tenure as Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals, and refusal to evenhandedly apply the law. Kaye has repeatedly exhibited bias in favor of trial lawyers, against small businesses, and against breadwinner spouses and fathers in divorce cases. She routinely distorts and ignores her own court’s past precedents.
I have written earlier about the bad, biased record of New York’s state courts, which, along with high state taxes, have done much to drive jobs out of New York State (and thus make it harder for state taxpayers to afford the high judicial salaries that Judge Kaye now demands). But Kaye is truly in a league of her own when it comes to judicial overreach and legislation from the bench, such as ordering the state government to increase spending by billions of dollars in the CFE case. If she doesn’t like her pay, which is much higher than what experienced state prosecutors and public defenders get, she can always resign. The people of New York State would be much better off if she did. (CEI has not rated the nation’s judges. But it has rated The Nation’s Top Ten Worst State Attorneys General, who share many of Judge Kaye’s vices).