Despite the fact that judicial contests – reinforced both by campaign finance law and by the Louisiana Code of Judicial Conduct – are supposed to have a nonpolitical air about them, the race for the open seat on the 26th District Court that covers Bossier and Webster Parishes last year had all the trappings of an issue-promoting, mud-slinging tussle that one might expect in an election to legislative or executive office.
But this claim promises much more than it is likely deliver. Besides the fact that he alone can’t produce this – a majority of the six judges would have to agree with this idea – the disparate funding mechanisms of running a court don’t really draw directly on taxpayer dollars, primarily dependent upon the state for salary, other jurisdictions for infrastructure, and user fees for the remainder. As the district, like most, also has seen a declining caseload, it also seems unlikely that a new judgeship would need creation any time soon, and there’s no way the judges would reorganize their case flows in a way that costs one of them his job, if that’s even possible.
The trend may be here to stay, precisely because these jobs pay so relatively well, with state jobs ranging from just under $140,000 to just over $150,000 annually based upon position. That's much more than can be made working for a district attorney and for many in private practice. Further, with lengthy terms of 6-10 years and a history of reelection almost always without any challengers (Burchett was the last area judge to be defeated), it makes these slots, where one largely sets his own workload, highly sought.
Thus, a reason to oppose the bill would be because it would exacerbate this tendency to see these jobs as plums so rewarding that campaigning for them becomes more vitriolic in order to gain such a valuable prize. The example above becomes more likely to serve as the norm if the raise is approved.