A representative of the Judicial Conference today expressed strong concerns to Congress about the Judiciary’s long-term ability to carry out its functions under a no-growth federal budget.
“The funding Congress provided in fiscal year 2014 will stabilize our financial position,” Judge Julia Gibbons, chair of the Judicial Conference’s Budget Committee told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. “The funding provided in the [fiscal year 2014] omnibus will allow us to reverse most of the emergency cost-containment measures that were put in place because of sequestration. . . . I am very concerned, however, about the longer-term funding prospects for the Judiciary in what will be a constrained federal budget environment for fiscal year 2015 and the foreseeable future.”
For fiscal year 2015, the Judiciary seeks $6.7 billion in discretionary appropriations, a 3.4 percent ($219.5 million) overall increase above the fiscal year 2014 enacted appropriations level.
Judge Gibbons told the subcommittee that the Judiciary’s fiscal year 2015 request simply allows the courts and federal defenders to continue to recover from sequestration cuts by maintaining the fiscal year 2014 level of operations in the courts.
“We believe the requested funding level represents the minimum amount required to meet our Constitutional and statutory responsibilities,” Judge Gibbons said. “We ask that the Committee take into account the nature and importance of our work and continue to make the Judicial Branch a funding priority again in fiscal year 2015, as well as in future years.”