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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/15300/n-y-judges-want-to-wear-the-union-label/

N. Y. Judges want to wear the union label

January 12, 2011 by

State court judges in New York are unhappy with their pay and are not getting any satisfaction from their paymaster legislators in Albany. The New York City Family Court Judges’ Association polled it’s members and 90% of those who responded are for creating a judge’s association to negotiate on behalf of the jurists.

“The message is: United we stand,” Judge W. Dennis Duggan said.

New York state finances are in bad shape with new governor Andrew Cuomo walking into a $9 billion budget deficit and what the New York Times calls a “perennially dysfunctional Legislature.”

“But some judges argue that as their caseloads have grown, the effect of going years without a pay raise is that they are being paid far less for far more work,” explains the Times.

“In government operations, the consumer is treated like an unwelcome intruder,” Murray Rothbard wrote in For a New Liberty “an interference in the quiet enjoyment by the bureaucrat of his steady income.” Conversely, in private business more demand is welcomed.

Unionized judges will just hasten the state’s bankruptcy. If you thought the wheels of justice turned slow now, wait till a judges’ union limits the number of cases heard and negotiates other work rules with the dysfunctional legislature.

Rothbard pointed out:

the monopoly courts of government are subject to the same grievous problems, inefficiencies, and contempt
for the consumer as any other government operation. We all know that judges, for example, are not selected according to their wisdom, probity, or efficiency in serving the consumer, but are political hacks chosen by the political process. Furthermore, the courts are monopolies; if, for example, the courts in some town or city should become corrupt, venal, oppressive, or inefficient, the citizen at present has no recourse.

Imagine walking into the courtroom and your judge appears sporting a Teamsters patch on his or her black robe.

In a free market, citizens would likely subscribe to court service, Rothbard imagines, or a fee would be paid when court service is needed. These fees would finance the justice system.

{ 17 comments }

J. Murray January 12, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Repeal all the stupid laws and regulations that choke the court system. That’ll lighten the caseload.

HL January 12, 2011 at 12:42 pm

“In government operations, the consumer is treated like an unwelcome intruder,” Murray Rothbard wrote in For a New Liberty “an interference in the quiet enjoyment by the bureaucrat of his steady income.” Conversely, in private business more demand is welcomed.

Oh my, that hits the nail on the head.

As to income, if the judges had cajones, they would have someone file a case claiming the Court as a co-equal branch may collect and set its own fees. Once the fees are actually kept in the court, money will be aplenty. There are some fancy schmancy constitutional issues, as well as appointment issues, but in my experience, special masters appointed by judges themselves could alleviate a lot of stress with no additional appointments. It would also be touching to see a system where the best judges get limos and the hacks are relegated to Yugo’s, but I am dreaming here…

billwald January 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

“In a free market, citizens would likely subscribe to court service, Rothbard imagines, or a fee would be paid when court service is needed.”

When would the person being sued conclude that court service was necessary?

Colin Phillips January 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

When the insurance company that the person being sued subscribes to increases the premiums, based on the increased risk associated with someone who is guilty of whatever the subpoena concerns.

Or when the customers of the business of the person being sued decide to take their business elsewhere for fear of also being a victim of whatever the subpoena concerns.

I would imagine that someone who disregards the court system entirely when accused of something will, in general, be regarded as guilty by the market.

Lee January 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I think the comment above, with just a little thought, points up how utterly absurd this whole idea of “private” courts is. Talk about a nightmare! I can’t believe intelligent people would even entertain such an idea.

Colin Phillips January 12, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Lee, I’m sorry you feel that way, can you explain exactly what it is you dislike? I might be explaining the concept clumsily, and so might have left out something you need to hear.

This article may explain the general idea more completely: http://mises.org/daily/1874

augusto January 12, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I think Lee’s reply will go as follows: in a system of multiple courts competing for clients, and with individuals not necessarily bound to any unified code of law, how are we ever to know who we can or cannot trust?

Essentially, when I go to a store and buy an electrical appliance, if it doesn’t work, I know i have the “right” (I’m using the term in the sense it is commonly understood) to demand for my money back or for a replacement. It’s the consumer protection law, and it’s valid for every single store that operates within the national territory.

Now, take that away. I go to a store, I buy an electrical appliance, it doesn’t work. I go to the store, ask for a replacement, the store manager reply, “Sorry, we don’t do that here.” What then?

The libertarian will probably reply:
1- You can inform yourself about how the store handles similar cases. You can ask the store manager before making your purchase, or you can consult your family and friends (or the internet) to learn more about the store’s practices;

2- The store doesn’t have to insure itself against mal-functioning appliances, so it can charge lower prices for its products. “Buyer beware” – if you’re paying less, you should know that you’re getting less;

3- In a libertarian system, everything will be handled through insurance companies. If you buy something that doesn’t work, your insurance company will take care of it – perhaps the insurance company will even send you a list of companies that fall under its coverage, and if you buy from a non-approved store, you do so at your own risk;

The non-libertarian will reply:
1- This is the beauty of one-country, one set of rules. Wherever you go, everyone is bound by the same rules. It makes business transactions and social life in general a lot easier if people follow the same laws, speak the same language, etc.

2- A private court system will be a nightmare because it will require people to go around establishing individual contracts for every little thing they do, and there’s no way to know if the other part is honest or not (nevermind that it’s already pretty difficult to do it today, and that few people go around questioning others’ honesty);

I can’t say I’m for the “private courts” system, and in this regard I’m much closer to the classic liberal position than to the libertarian one. But I can’t say I’m not intrigued.

Colin Phillips January 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm

Right now, if you buy an electrical appliance, and it doesn’t work, you can usually get a replacement by going back to the store with your receipt, not because of consumer protection laws, but because that business has a reputation to protect. If a store manager said “Sorry, we don’t do that here” I wouldn’t bother filing a lawsuit, I’d complain about it to three of their potential customers and be done with it.

I like to think that while a private system would in theory allow for a complete hodge-podge of different legal standards for every transaction, the incentive for each court to standardise on the best possible representation of community standards would be great enough to quickly sort out these kinds of issues. Every time a court company finds a way to improve their customer service, their profit increases. All the problems non-libertarian people raise are indeed legitimate, and major issues. The best court companies, those that survive, will be those which most effectively address all these issues to their customers’ satisfaction.

augusto January 12, 2011 at 6:20 pm

Colin,

But look at a relatively recent historical example: the hundreds of political entities of medieval Europe. There was certainly trade among them. And yet, there was no unification or standardization of units of measurement.

I could be wrong about that, though, and some people will certainly point to government interference, but I don’t see how governments in those times could prevent business organizations from establishing their own international standards, and them applying the local standard for local business…

augusto January 12, 2011 at 8:00 pm

Other than that, your comment that “if you buy an electrical appliance, and it doesn’t work, you can usually get a replacement by going back to the store with your receipt, not because of consumer protection laws, but because that business has a reputation to protect,” is another argument libertarians would make, while non-libertarians would suggest that “capitalists are greedy and they will try to take advantage of innocent consumers.”

Colin Phillips January 13, 2011 at 2:04 am

Augusto,

You’re certainly correct that trade does not require standardisation, but it also does not prevent it. The English language is an example of a communally built structure which has, over time, standardised on spelling and grammar rules. Yes, a large part of this was due to the influence of dictionary publishers, but there is no reason that similar standardisation companies could not exist for other systems, if there was a need for them.

I think that, given time, medieval society would have established standards in most spheres of life. The Lex Mercatoria referenced by Michael A. Clem is certainly an example for the legal sphere – a common body of legal principles for tradesmen to settle minor commercial disputes.

Michael A. Clem January 12, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Absurd? It’s already worked in history–check out common law systems and Merchant Law. Even today, many businesses prefer to set up their contracts (with other businesses) with clauses for utilizing private arbitration/mediation organizations if there’s problems instead of going to a public court–they know it will be faster, fairer, and easier.

scineram January 13, 2011 at 5:39 am

So the government courts are not a monopoly after all?

Jim January 12, 2011 at 5:48 pm

Today, like every day, I’m once again glad to no longer be a NYS subje …. er, vict…. survivor? no, resident. Citizen. Yeah, that’s it.

I’m fully in favor of whatever Judge Whatshisname wants to do with unionizing. Give them money. Anything that brings NYS closer to full bankruptcy and reality is a needed improvement, and the sooner the better. Let it all fail. Western and Central NY should have seceded when it had the chance. Let the rest fall into the Atlantic.

Oklahoma Libertarian July 12, 2011 at 1:27 pm

When did they have the chance!? I’m quite interested.

Ray Rock January 12, 2011 at 5:50 pm

I guess that means if a case involving a union goes to court all of the judges will have to recuse themselves.

Ohhh Henry January 12, 2011 at 9:52 pm

“But some judges argue that as their caseloads have grown, the effect of going years without a pay raise is that they are being paid far less for far more work,” explains the Times.

Maybe they should throw out more cases and advise the litigants to grow up, stop whining to the government for arbitration, run along back where they came from, and work things out peacefully among themselves. That’s for civil litigants. State prosecutors who bring non-crimes into their courts should be told to either get a job or go to hell, whichever they prefer.

Among many other problems with government-monopoly law courts, there simply isn’t enough time and money in the world to satisfy people’s lust and greed for Big Brother to solve their problems for them, most of which involve some kind of scheme by someone to get a free lunch.

Margaret Thatcher didn’t know the half of it – the facts of life (including the laws of economics) are not so much conservative, as anarcho-capitalist.

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