Friday, November 16, 2012

Does a US Judge Wage Freeze Constitute a Pay Cut?

Insane COLA for Federal Officers

Congress idiotically and unethically granted a cost of living adjustment (COLA), typically an increase, for elected and appointed federal employees (Congress, Judges, President and Cabinet, etc) in the ironic Ethics Reform Act of 1989.   Even the people get an increase - see the Social Security COLA.

Why do I write "idiotically and unethically?"  Because elected and appointed officials, as a group, engaged in the irresponsible Government behavior that creates inflation:  deficit spending.  The courts and Congress should both specifically outlaw it as unconstitutional. Nothing in the constitution permits government to impose an unnamed tax on savings, etc, precisely the effect of inflation.

The COLA Problem

Inflation allegedly fell below 0 in 2009, so Government froze the COLA for federal employees in 2010 and nobody, including SS recipients and government retirees received a COLA for that year.  Naturally, no one whom the freeze affected appreciated it because nobody really believes actual inflation has fallen below 5% for decades.  Anybody paying for petroleum-based products knows better than to fall for that ruse.

But whining Federal Judges so hated the freeze that they fought back.  They filed suit in Beer v United States :

In an en banc review of a suit brought by current and former Article III judges claiming that Congress violated the Compensation Clause by withholding the salary adjustments established by the Ethics Reform Act of 1989, decision of the Court of Federal Claims dismissing the complaint is reversed, remanded, and Williams v. U.S. is overruled where, in the unique context of the 1989 Act, the Constitution prevents Congress from abrogating that statute's precise and definite commitment to automatic yearly cost of living adjustments for sitting members of the judiciary. Further, because the 1989 Act was enacted after Section 140, the 1989 Act's automatic cost of living adjustments control.
CUSA Article III Section 1
The judicial Power of the United States shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behaviour, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation, which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office.

The Logic

Now, anybody with common sense knows that failing to hand out a COLA because of below-zero inflation  DOES NOT constitute a pay cut, particularly when the law reflects not only the COLA but also the Consumer Price Index (CPI), another term for "inflation rate."

How could the court have come to a different conclusion?  Who cares?  I have a solution for their insane greed.

The Solution

Congress should terminate the existence of all the courts which employ the judges who brought the lawsuit, AND the court that issued the idiotic reversal.  They can give the court of claims judge a secret cash award (which he cannot prove for purposes of a lawsuit for stopping the bonus) for his sensible dismissal of the frivolous complaint.

That would discontinue the employment of those disgruntled bozo judges and really give them something to bitch about.

Then Congress can reestablish the dumped courts with new judges and clerks.

Meanwhile, I post my Moses photo below to register my discontent with greedy US judges.

Bob Hurt
P.O. Box 14712
Clearwater, FL 33766-4712
(727) 669-5511
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