Holland & Knight Wins Higher Salaries for Federal Judges

Holland & Knight Partners Lynn Calkins and Chuck Tobin prevailed in a high-profile lawsuit filed on behalf of firm clients, the Honorable Judge Robert Gettleman and the Honorable Judge Elaine Bucklo. Both clients are senior judges for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois who were appointed by former President Bill Clinton in 1994. They sought counsel from Holland & Knight in a dispute with the goal of overturning Congress's denial of judicial pay raises. The U.S. Court of Federal Claims ruled in the judges' favor and entered its order on June 11, awarding back pay, raising their salaries from $174,000 to $197,100, and likely re-setting the current salaries for all federal judges.

The lawsuit, filed in 2010, alleged that Congress violated the Compensation Clause of Article III of the Constitution by withholding cost of living adjustments from the judiciary branch for several years. However, cost of living adjustments were given to other federal employees. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Judges Gettleman and Bucklo shortly after the Supreme Court vacated and remanded the dismissal of similar claims by another group of judges.

Holland & Knight represented the judges on a pro bono basis.