Salary increase for judges ruled constitutional on appeal
By The Star Staff
Superior Judge Anthony Cuevas Ramos ruled late last week in favor of a salary increase for judges in Puerto Rico, declaring that Joint Resolution 39-2023 is a special law that provides for this increase.
The ruling holds that the Puerto Rico Constitution protects judicial independence, preventing the reduction of judges’ salaries during their term of office.
“The appeals filed are declared admissible, assuring that the Constitution does not allow the reduction of the salary of judges and it is the duty of the Government to finance the increase during the next fiscal years,” Judge Cuevas Ramos determined in his ruling.
Friday’s ruling requires the Courts Administration Office to request that the Financial Oversight and Management Board reschedule funds so that the Office of Management and Budget can proceed with the reprogramming of funds approved in the budget.
The case, initiated last Friday by Judge Ricardo Marrero Guerrero, argued that the Legislative Assembly approved Joint Resolution 39-2023, granting the salary increase provided for in the commonwealth fiscal plan approved by the oversight board. The complaint alleged that the Office of Management and Budget had failed to take the necessary steps to disburse the funds allocated for the increase.
Attorneys José Andréu Fuentes and Frank Torres Viada, who filed Marrero Guerrero’s lawsuit, stated that “The Court acted in accordance with the law and with strict prudence in putting into effect the budget law previously approved by consensus by both Houses, as well as by the governor, which was also approved by the Fiscal Control Board.”
“With this decision, unnecessarily bringing about a constitutional clash with the other branches of government was avoided,” they added.