The federal judiciary recently pushed back the date money used to operate the federal court system is set to run out. This is the third time the measure has become necessary.
Money to operate the court system was first estimated to run out on January 18. The federal judiciary was able to find money to fund the courts an additional week at that time and it was pushed back to January 25. The new date for the funds to dry up is January 31, reports ABA Journal.
Court fees and other monetary sources have so far been able to keep the court system afloat. Expenses have been cut for things like new hires, expenses for travel, and contracts. However, private lawyers appointed by the court are presently working without pay.
The Department of Justice has requested civil cases that involve the government is postponed until a later date.
If the 31st approaches without a resolution to the shutdown, non-essential court personnel will more than likely remain at home. The Antideficiency Act mandates that workers necessary to maintain judicial powers under Article three remain on the job. This provision will guarantee the salaries of Supreme Court justices as well as judges working in district and appeals courts.
The situation is causing courts to wrestle with a number of potential complications that can possibly occur when funding is exhausted. The situation can have dramatic effects on court reporters, interpreters, and clerks needed for efficient court proceedings. The situation will also negatively affect jurors who are required to receive payment for their service.
United States District Judge Ruben Castillo is especially troubled by the potential complications for jurors. He says that jurors who are not paid for their service may feel pressure to come to judgment quicker in a case.
Courts around the country are toying with their own unique ideas to deal with the problems of an extended shutdown. The Court of Appeals in San Francisco is proposing to close the court and furlough workers one day a week. A Brooklyn court is considering furloughs for certain employees and restricting the use of the courthouse for groups and classes that meet there.
Bob Carlson, president of the American Bar Association, expressed deep concern regarding the current state affairs for federal courts. Carlson made requests to both Congress and the White House a week ago to provide funding for agencies that play no direct role in their fight over the border wall.