Utah Supreme Court Justices are requesting more money. Apparently there is a vacancy in the 7th district that has attracted on five applicants, short four from the state’s mandate of nine applications being received before proceeding in the hiring process.
In today’s Deseret News:
In her annual State of the Judiciary address to the Utah Legislature, Chief Justice Christine M. Durham said more and more of Utah’s attorneys seem disinterested in becoming judges, mainly because the pay is so much less than what they can make in the private sector and even less than legal positions within Utah’s government. “I know that no one becomes a judge to get rich,” Durham said, “… but I am concerned about trends and morale.” Some 11 percent of district judgeships have turned over in the past two years and 35 percent of all Utah judges are eligible to retire in the next four years. Currently, district court judges make $114,004 while Court of Appeals judges are paid $120,100 and the five Supreme Court justices make $125,800 annually.
Historically, lawmakers have been reluctant to grant the raises asked by the courts. Last year, the Utah courts asked for a 7 percent increase and got 3 percent. The year before that, judges received a 1 percent boost.
This year, Durham said the courts are asking for an 11 percent raise.
This might not be an issue if the entire system were overhauled so that judges wouldn’t be working so much, inclusive of changing laws for non-violent crimes. Additionally – 11 percent???? Compared to the average workers pay in Utah, the current judge’s salary is wonderful! I can’t beleive that Utah would raise the salaries of government employees so much while, at the same time, arguing over what minimum wages should be for the average employee that keeps our economy going.
Priorities, people, priorities.