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Michigan House supports 10% raise for Supreme Court justices

LANSING — The Michigan House voted Tuesday to approve a 10% pay increase for state Supreme Court justices, backing a recommendation made by a compensation commission.

If the raise also is endorsed by the Senate, justices’ salary would rise from $164,610 to $172,841 in 2021 and to $181,483 in 2022. It would be the first raise in nearly 20 years.

Supporters said the hike is necessary because Michigan’s roughly two-dozen Court of Appeals judges, whose pay is tied to increases typically given to all state employees on an annual basis, will soon be paid more than the seven justices.

ìIt doesn’t quite make sense,î said Rep. Graham Filler, a DeWitt Republican. ìThe Supreme Court is the main court in the state of Michigan. They do all the intake of cases that go up for appeal and they decide on some of the biggest issues. They should be the highest-paid judges.î

In May, the State Officers Compensation Commission recommended 5% pay raises in 2021 and 2022. The panel previously suggested increases in 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017, but the recommendations did not advance in the Legislature.

The GOP-led House used a voice vote to pass a resolution approving the $16,873 raise.

In its report to lawmakers, the commission said the justices’ salaries rank 35th-lowest in the country. Chief Justice Bridget McCormack noted the effect of inflation and how other judges and state workers had received cost-of-living raises since 2002.

The panel did not recommend pay increases for lawmakers, the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state.

Follow David Eggert on Twitter: https://twitter.com/DavidEggert00.

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