Federal judges are looking for a raise. So, to minimize it, the federal government tried to show the justices were making more than they did while they were simply lawyers.
The Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission recently submitted a report to the government calling for an increase in the salaries of more than 1,000 federally appointed judges to a minimum of $304,000 annually by April 1, 2011, from their current minimum of $260,000.
The commission's recommendation, which the government must accept or reject by the end of November, is significantly nearer the 2011 salary of $307,000 sought by the judges and well above the roughly $287,000 the government offered.
To buttress its position that salaries for federal judges are generally higher than the income they earned as lawyers in private and public practice, the Justice Department took the unprecedented step of giving the Canada Revenue Agency a list of the names of 627 judges the federal cabinet appointed to the bench between 1995 and 2007.
The agency was able to match 567 of those judges to their tax records as lawyers, and provided the Justice Department with an aggregated version of the information, with no names attached. A consultant used the data to calculate what the department claimed was an indication of the average increases in salaries and benefits lawyers received after they became judges.