The senior judge concluded that the budget resolution was the “special legislation” needed to enact the judicial pay hike.
High Justice Anthony Cuevas Ramos ruled this afternoon that he ordered the government to constitutionally require a joint resolution approving the government budget and a “special law” that includes an item for judges’ salary increases to make the raises official. Executing procedures with the Financial Supervisory Board (JSF) to start the transfer of funds and payment of increments from July 1, 2023.
Judicial salaries have not been reviewed since 2003 and the new criteria represent a 24% increase to bring the chief justice’s salary to $154,556; 20% brings the value of co-judges to $144,480; 24% bringing the value of appellate judges to $130,579; 32% of senior judges made $118,133 and 32% of municipal judges made $91,764.
Appellate Judge Ricardo Marrero Guerrero and the Puerto Rican Association of the Judiciary, Inc. The decision came a week after (APJ) said in separate cases, Joint Resolution 39 of 2023 was the only legislative instrument needed to turn it into law. An increase in the salary rates of judges negotiated between the Government, the Board and the Administrative Office of Courts (OAT). There, $11.2 million was approved for judges’ raises if the board approves the new salary rates.
The resolution was approved five months ago as part of the country’s budget debate, but demands did not arise until House Speaker Rafael Hernández Montanez said he would not give way to Senate Bill 1292, which amends the Judiciary Act. An Act specifying the salaries of judges.
All elements of Cuevas Ramos’ ruling Friday afternoon were telegraphed in his Wednesday morning hearing, in which the House and Senate opposed the joint requests, saying they understood the joint resolution “is not equivalent to a special law.” The argument is that joint resolutions are temporary and contain time-bound matters like the budget, so what is contained in the joint resolution does not become part of permanent legislation.
But Cuevas Ramos, the Supreme Court, held that joint resolutions refer to “matters of a special, particular, specific and intermediate nature” and, “Consequently, judges and any other public authority named by the Constitution in Article 11 of Salary VI may be recognized by a joint resolution.”
“This is why we understand that the father’s approval of S. 1292 is a mere formality. The increase was authorized from the moment both the legislatures and the Governor approved the (joint resolution)… Arguing that the bureaucratic process of authorizing the P. of S. 1292 is an irrevocable act to provide. The increment given last 5 months back is not correct. “It is too much to resort to law to solve this problem,” he added.
To address the fact that the resolution expires on June 30, 2024, since judges’ salaries cannot be reduced once established, the judge said the hike would remain in effect forever, even though the resolution adopting it was void.
The judge ordered that the clerk begin the process with the board to obtain a budget reallocation that would go to OAT to address the fact that the money for the increase is in the custody of the Office of Management and Budget. will be distributed.
In his ruling, Cuevas Ramos set aside APJ’s request to declare that non-approval of the 1292 plan was a violation of separation of powers and judicial independence. “[N]It seems unnecessary for you to enter into that controversy, opined.
Cuevas Ramos, who was part of the Judiciary Committee that lobbied the Senate for the failed salary increase plan in 2019, addressed in his sentence a reference to the conflict of interest represented by the person deciding the case whose salary depends on it.
“In this case, the undersigned judge no doubt has an interest in it because it is his own salary. However, as all the judges are in the same position, there is no possibility of transfer of the undersigned judge. In other words, all judges in Puerto Rico are affected by this determination. Therefore, we proceed to resolve the legal controversy,” he argued, pointing to a 1920 U.S. Supreme Court case that dealt with the contributory aspects of federal judges’ salaries that affected them personally. The plaintiff in that 1920 case, as in the actions brought last Friday, was a judge.
The number of judges is increasing and we need to figure out how
The Chamber wants us to pay for the second most expensive legislature in the entire United States
The judgment can be read here:
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