THE PARTIAL U.S. GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN
AND ITS IMPACT ON OUR FEDERAL COURTS
January 23, 2019 Update
The continued partial shutdown of the government now threatens the operations of the U.S. federal court system. According to the Administrative Office of the United States Courts, the federal judiciary’s financial reserves will be depleted by January 31. After that time, fee reserves and other balances will no longer fully sustain federal court operations as they have for the past month.
Unless Congress approves an appropriation for the federal judiciary by January 31, the federal courts will suffer a lapse in funding and need to significantly reduce operations. The curtailment of funding will slow or halt many cases and likely eliminate the availability of fees for jurors and travel expenses. If our federal courts undergo limited operations, the judiciary’s capacity to pay its non-judge workforce also will be exhausted, widening the hardship already being needlessly suffered by our nation’s public servants.
The Federal Bar Association is deeply concerned about these funding developments and their impact on litigants, the administration of justice and respect for the rule of law. Our Constitution relies upon the vitality of all three branches of government, including an independent judiciary.
President and Congressional leaders have been urged to end the shutdown and assure adequate funding for the federal courts and all of the federal government.