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California’s judges are hoping it will be Christmas in January when Gov. Gray Davis unveils his 2000-2001 budget. They were thwarted in 1999 when they wanted Davis and the Legislature to bump judicial salaries 24 percent, bringing them into pay parity with the federal judiciary in one fell swoop. It didn’t happen, though judges garnered a far more modest 8 percent raise spread over two years, the same hike granted to other state workers. This year they’ve changed their strategy, enlisted powerful institutional allies and launched a drive for an 8.5 percent increase for each of the next two years. Though they could achieve their goal through legislation alone, they hope to see an early show of support in the form of a $24 million allocation the budget. That amount would raise the salary of a Superior Court judge by $10,000 to $127,935 a year.

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