Mon. Dec 4th, 2023

BOISE — An Idaho Supreme Court justice from Boise who fought for higher judicial pay and won three elections to six-year terms has announced his retirement.

Justice Roger Burdick, 73, spent 47 years as a lawyer, prosecutor, public defender and judge, including time as the state chief justice, the Idaho Statesman reported.

“Throughout his career, Justice Burdick has demonstrated how public service is a calling, not just a job,” current Chief Justice G. Richard Bevan said. “His continual push for improvement and excellence in all areas has benefited Idahoans, and we will miss his presence on the Supreme Court.”

Burdick told the Legislature in 2013 that Idaho struggled to recruit and retain district court judges because of low pay, an overwhelming workload and the prospect of contested election.

He earned $123,400 a year then and $157,800 a year now. The current chief justice makes about $3,000 more, officials said. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the median pay for judges and magistrates was $128,550 a year in 2019. Idaho district judges currently earn $141,800 a year.

Burdick received a law degree from the University of Idaho in 1974 and has since held several positions, including deputy prosecutor, public defender and district judge. He was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2003 by former Republican Gov. Dirk Kempthorne.

Burdick will retire in June, giving whoever Gov. Brad Little appoints to complete his term, which expires in January 2023, the advantage of incumbency in the next election.

Burdick said he will apply to serve as a senior judge during retirement to take on periodic cases to help ease the workload across the judiciary.

By senior