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Constitutional Law

Group of Federal Judges Plans to Seek Class Action Status in Suit Over Unpaid Cost-of-Living Raises

Posted Dec 14, 2012 2:57 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Earlier this year, a federal appeals court told Congress to ante up for years of unpaid cost-of-living increases to six federal judges.

Now a group including senior U.S. District Judge Royal Furgeson Jr. of Texas, who serves as president of the Federal Judges Association, plans to sue on behalf of all of the nation's federal judges, seeking similar relief in a class action, reports the Associated Press.

They contend that Constitution’s Compensation Clause was violated when Congress did not pay them the mandated pay raises in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007 and 2010, even though other federal workers got their automatic cost-of-living adjustments.

Whether the judges' suit is likely to be successful could rest on what happens concerning the October ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit that Congress has to pay six judges their promised raises. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Justice said it hasn't yet decided whether to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Attorney Harry P. Susman of Houston is representing the judges' group.

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