Imagine public defenders being given IOUs instead of paychecks by the federal government for representing defendants. Or federal court clerks, stenographers, bailiffs and security guards going without paychecks, throwing into question whether court houses could operate at all.
Those are some of the consequences that will result if Washington lawmakers don’t come up with a resolution in the ongoing budget battle, judicial officials warned yesterday.
If Congress’ budget impasse continues, leading to the government shutdown, “litigation might be grinding to halt for a while,” D.C. Circuit Chief Judge David Sentelle said yesterday after a meeting of the Judicial Conference, according to the Associated Press.
Federal trial courts would be hardest hit, Sentelle said, since appellate courts’ time schedules aren’t as sensitive as those of district courts, the BLT blog reported.
The Conference also issued a statement airing some other concerns regarding Congress’ ongoing budget battle, including the fact that the views of the Judicial Branch are not being represented during budget negotiations.