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Chief justice: Inflation outpacing pay for judges

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Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday that Congress should be as generous to judges as it already has been to itself, by approving an inflation-related increase in their pay.

Alone among federal employees, judges will not receive a cost-of-living allowance in 2009. Members of Congress are getting a 2.8 percent boost, worth $4,700. But they refused before Christmas to give an identical increase to judges.

Federal trial judges are paid $169,300 a year. Appellate judges make more, ranging up to Roberts' salary of $217,400. The salaries pale in comparison to what top lawyers earn in private practice.

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