According to NCSC’s recently updated Judicial Salary Tracker:
- The average salary for general jurisdiction court judges is $161,750, with a range of $89,600 (Puerto Rico) to $216,400 (Washington, D.C.);
- The average for appellate court judges is $173,132, from $105,000 (Puerto Rico) to $244,700 (California); and
- The average for associate supreme court justices is $179,785, from $120,000 (Puerto Rico) to $261,013 (California).
General jurisdiction court judges in South Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Georgia and Illinois receive the largest annual salaries, when adjusted for cost of living. When you take cost of living out of the equation, judges at that level in D.C., California, New York, Illinois and Hawaii earn the largest salaries.
Besides California and D.C., salaries for judges and justices in Illinois, New York, Hawaii, Pennsylvania and Washington state rank near the top.
Besides Puerto Rico, salaries for judges and justices in Northern Mariana Islands, West Virginia, South Dakota, Kentucky, Kansas and New Mexico rank near the bottom. (Judges and justices in Northern Mariana Islands haven’t received a pay raise since 1993.)
The good news is that judges and justices in most states received pay raises during the past six months. Judges in Alaska, Georgia, Rhode Island, South Carolina and Texas received relatively large raises in 2019.
Despite those pay increases, the rankings haven’t changed much since we last updated the Judicial Salary Tracker in the summer of 2019.
From 2000 to 2020
General jurisdiction court judges received annual pay raises of about 3 percent during the first decade of the century, dipping to about 2 percent annually during the next 10 years.
In 2000, those judges made an average annual salary of $104,349. If they received an annual raise of 2.71 percent – the average between 1999 and 2004 – their pay today would be $178,274, rather than the current average of $161,750.
New tool allows users to compare and contrast different types of Access to Justice programs
Imagine that you have funds to invest in programs to increase access to justice (A2J) and you want to spend those funds in the most cost-effective way. Deciding how to spend limited resources is critical task for state court policymakers across the country.
To help with those decisions, the NCSC has published Measuring the Impact of Access to Justice Programs: An Assessment Tool for Funders and Policymakers. The tool provides a systematic framework for court leaders to think critically about the size and composition of the pool of potential program users, the likelihood that targeted users can find and successfully access the program and will ultimately benefit from program services. The tool explains the framework and provide helpful examples of how it might compare and contrast different types of A2J programs, including suggestions for validating assumptions about program scope and impact and costs. For more information or assistance in using the tool, contact Paula Hannaford-Agor at firstname.lastname@example.org.