Oyez! Oyez!

(A brief discussion twixt Baer & Baer's editor, a.k.a. BE)

JB: Castille and Company are not going to like today's Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

BE: The state Supreme Court chief justice and former Philly DA has a problem?

JB: According to the newspaper, he's got a misplaced argument. He's seeking a 25 percent increase in court funding at a time the Guv is proposing a 50 percent cut in higher-ed funding, and today's Trib says the state judicial payroll jumped 20 percent in the last six years.

BE: Wish my pay took such a hop.

JB: Get in line. The newspaper reports that among the state's 1,000-plus judges and 1,000-plus staffers nearly 30 percent pull in more than $100,000 a-year.

BE: Do they have any openings.

JB: Very few. Trib says during the period in question their "cost-cutting" efforts included reducing their compliment by five positions.

BE: May it please the court.

JB: Apparently, it doesn't. Castille claims the state's "headed toward a crisis" unless the courts get more dough.

BE: What's the "crisis," a drop in the state's median household income?

JB: Which, by the by, is around $50,000. That's below the national average. So maybe we need the judiciary to pull it up for all of us.

BE: Speaking of national averages, how do Castille and our judges stack up in pay to the rest of the states?

JB: Trib says Castille's $195,138 salary makes him the 3rd highest paid chief in the land and cites a new National Center for State Courts salary survey that puts our judges among the highest paid in the nation.

BE: Just like our legislators.

JB: Hey, when you want the very best, ya gotta be willing to pay the price.

BE: Which is why our judges and lawmakers get automatic annual pay increases.

JB: Excellence doesn't come cheap. Grrrr.