The 420,000-member American Bar Association came to the defense of judges during its Miami meeting, expressing support for a pay raise for federal judges and pledging to defend aggressively against ballot measures that compromise judicial independence.

ABA President Karen Mathis told her membership Monday that district judges, who earn $165,200 a year, certainly should be paid more than first-year lawyers at New York City firms. Starting annual salaries there now are $160,000.