FBA Leaders Urge Congress to Act on Court Funding, Judicial Vacancies

FBA Leaders Urge Congress to Act on Court Funding, Judicial Vacancies

(L-R). Arturo Thompson, Patrick McHugh, Bruce Moyer, Jonathan Hafen, Jenifer Tomchak, Richard Dellinger, Andrea Marconi, West Allen, Alison Bachus, John Shaw, Gary LaFleur, Ron Kozlowski, Raymond Dowd and Sharon Lovejoy. Not pictured: Robert Kohn, Rodger Smith, Maria Vathis, Brian Murphy, Amy Gell, Robert Rando and Geoffrey Cheshire.

Twenty FBA leaders from across the country met with Senators, Members of the House of Representatives, and senior Congressional staff to press for Congressional action on some of the foremost challenges facing the federal courts, as part of FBA Capitol Hill Day on April 25 in Washington. FBA delegations met with nearly all Senators (or their respective staff) on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

FBA urged support for the Federal Judiciary’s imminent request for an emergency supplemental appropriation to mitigate the impact of sequestration. The appropriation will assist in reducing the dire funding situation faced by Federal Defender Offices. Federal budget cuts have caused delays in at least one terror-related court case in New York and prompted a federal judge in Nebraska to say he is "seriously contemplating" dismissing some criminal cases. Media coverage is here.

FBA advocates also sought prompt Senate consideration of pending judicial nominees. Of the 87 current vacancies, 36 are characterized by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts as “judicial emergencies.”

The FBA issue briefs associated with the court funding and judicial vacancy issues are here and here.