Federal Courts May Feel Pinch of Government Shutdown Soon - ABI

The federal courts have largely maintained normal operations during the current government shutdown so far, but that could change quickly if the stalemate lasts beyond next week, the Wall Street Journal reported. Officials at the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts say that the judiciary will begin to face significant challenges after Jan. 11 if funding hasn’t been restored. The courts have been dipping into court fees and other sources that aren’t dependent on new congressional appropriations, but those funds have their limits. If the shutdown continues, federal courts will have to come up with plans for managing reduced operations, and funding could be in jeopardy for jurors, court reporters, public defenders and some court staffers, as well as for some supervision and other services the courts provide to offenders on probation. The Supreme Court faces the same funding timeline as the rest of the courts, a high-court spokeswoman said yesterday. However, the courts won’t simply shut down, said David Sellers, a spokesman for the Administrative Office. Federal law allows courts to continue their work to the extent it is necessary to support the exercise of judicial powers — a phrasing that lets judges continue issuing rulings and keeping some critical cases moving through the pipeline.

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