Judicial salaries in South Carolina haven’t kept pace with the economy, said state Supreme Court Chief Justice Costa Pleicones.
In his State of the Judiciary address delivered to the General Assembly on Wednesday, Pleicones told lawmakers to consider pay raises to Judicial employees, calling prospective raises “deferred maintenance to remedy years of gradual deterioration.”
The speech was Pleicones’ first and last State of the Judiciary address.
Appellate court judges in South Carolina earn approximately $140,000 annually, ranking 30th in the nation in earnings. Trial court judges earn nearly $137,000, ranking 36th, compared with the more than $135,000 inflation-adjusted salary they could be earning.
Fifty-six percent of American families’ incomes are lagging behind the cost of living, compared with 44 percent in 2007, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center.
Pleicones also asked for legislative support in curbing the Judiciary’s dependence on fines and fees, favoring instead a more stable funding structure. South Carolina has the lowest number of judges and the highest caseload per judge in the nation.
Sources: State Judicial Department, National Center for State Courts, Pew Research Center