Gavel Grab

JAS Urges Bipartisan Fix to Ease Impact of Court Funding Cuts

Justice at Stake, citing a threat to “core constitutional values,” has asked congressional leaders for a plan to ease the impact on federal courts from recent budget cuts.

“[T]hese cuts threaten to erode several core constitutional values, including the right to a jury trial and due process,” JAS Executive Director Bert Brandenburg wrote in a letter to House and Senate leadership.

The across-the-board budget cuts that were triggered March 1 are called sequestration. “I write to urge decisive action to identify a bipartisan solution to allay the damage that sequestration is beginning to cause,” Brandenburg’s letter said.

The letter mentioned a budget cut of $350 million for the federal courts and recent news reports, for example, that hundreds of criminal cases will not be prosecuted in Kansas, and most criminal proceedings will be canceled on Fridays in Delaware.

It also pointed to statements of concern in Capitol Hill testimony by Supreme Court Justices Stephen Breyer and Anthony Kennedy (see Gavel Grab), and an op-ed by U.S. District Court Judges Charles Clevert and Joseph Rodriguez (click here for Gavel Grab). Judge Clevert is a JAS board member.

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