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Editor’s Note: As the Law Journal receives commentary from sitting judges and members of the bar on the fallout from the lack of compromise in the state’s budget on judicial salaries, we will publish those remarks in this space.
Judges Need Support, Not Warnings May 14, 2008 To the Editor: The world has been stood on its head by the warning to judges from the Commission on Judicial Conduct, (“ Recusals Could Lead to Discipline, Conduct Commission Forewarns,” (NYLJ May 13, page 1)). The men and women of the bench need a substantial raise just to reach the point of being underpaid. The Legislature’s inaction is beyond all reason at this point in time. To threaten the bench with discipline for recusals while paying lip service to the need for a raise is just plain cruel, as was the “dry appropriation” in the recently passed budget. The judges did not reach this point lightly. It has been years of lip service and empty promises. The recusals are a measured response to a drastic situation. Judges who feel they can not remain impartial while the Legislature financially strangles them and their families year after year after year should be supported, not threatened with discipline. As for the law firms that suffer the recusals, they voluntarily choose to associate with legislators and politicians for obvious reasons, including financial gain. As the saying goes, they take the good with the bad.

Joseph Sferrazza Melville, N.Y.

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