All Things Political

Judicial Worker Earnings

Judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates had median annual wages of $110,220 in May 2008. The middle 50 percent earned between $51,760 and $141,190. The top 10 percent earned more than $162,140, while the bottom 10 percent earned less than $32,290. Median annual wages in the industries employing the largest numbers of judges, magistrate judges, and magistrates in May 2008 were $126,080 in State government and $77,390 in local government. Administrative law judges, adjudicators, and hearing officers earned annual median wages of $76,940, and arbitrators, mediators, and conciliators earned an annual median of $50,660.

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In the Federal court system, the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court earned $217,400 in January 2008, and the Associate Justices averaged $208,100. Federal court-of-appeals judges earned an average of $179,500 a year, while district court judges had average salaries of $169,300, as did judges in the Court of Federal Claims and the Court of International Trade. Federal judges with limited jurisdiction, such as magistrates and bankruptcy judges, had average salaries of $155,756.

According to a 2008 survey by the National Center for State Courts, salaries of chief justices of State highest courts averaged $150,850 and ranged from $107,404 to $228,856. Annual salaries of associate justices of the State highest courts averaged $145,194 and ranged from $106,185 to $218,237. Salaries of State intermediate appellate court judges averaged $141,263 and ranged from $105,050 to $204,599. Salaries of State judges of general jurisdiction trial courts averaged $130,533 and ranged from $99,234 to $178,789.

Most salaried judges are provided health, life, and dental insurance; pension plans; judicial immunity protection; expense accounts; vacation, holiday, and sick leave; and contributions to retirement plans made on their behalf. In many States, judicial compensation committees, which make recommendations on the amount of salary increases, determine judicial salaries. States without commissions have statutes that regulate judicial salaries, link judicial salaries to increases in pay for Federal judges, or adjust annual pay according to the change in the Consumer Price Index, calculated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition

for State specific information, visit Job Outlook by State

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