The government is running again, but federal district and bankruptcy courts and those who practice in them were shaken, to varying degrees, by the government’s 17-day shutdown at the start of the new fiscal year.
The Judiciary will remain open for business through October 18, 2013. When no funding mechanism was in place on October 1, 2013, the Judiciary projected that fee income and no-year appropriated funds would enable court operations to continue for ten business days.
The federal courts may be open during the government shutdown, but it’s far from “business as usual.” According to a Department of Justice memo, U.S. Attorneys across the country have been directed to “curtail or postpone” civil litigation.
Following a government shutdown on October 1, 2013, the federal Judiciary will remain open for business for approximately 10 business days. On or around October 15, 2013, the Judiciary will reassess its situation and provide further guidance.
In a September 10 letter, the Judiciary has appealed to President Obama for the funding necessary in fiscal year 2014 to perform its essential constitutional functions. Without it, the federal courts face additional reductions in staff and services that will severely affect individuals and businesses seeking to resolve disputes.
In a congressional hearing on sequestration and the courts, a U.S. judge, federal defender and a private lawyer warned Senators that continued budget cuts would devastate the nation’s system of justice—threatening public safety, constitutional rights and economic well-being.
The Judicial Conference of the United States has requested $72.9 million in emergency funding, saying that a supplemental appropriation is needed to "address critical needs resulting from sequestration cuts."
A federal judge today told Congressional appropriators of sequestration’s dire consequences for the federal courts; "the Judiciary cannot continue to operate at such drastically reduced funding levels without seriously compromising the Constitutional mission of the federal courts."