Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Chief Justice Warns Sequestration Cuts Already Threatening Public Safety

Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts, in his annual Year-End Report on the State of the Federal Judiciary, blasted the 2011 Budget Control Act’s automatic “sequestration” federal spending cuts and warned that the cuts to the federal court system’s budget “pose a genuine threat to public safety.”

Roberts, appointed to the Supreme Court in 2005 by President George W. Bush, listed “adequate funding for the Judiciary” as the “single most important issue facing the courts” and offered a Dickensian look at the federal judiciary past, present, and future.

Conceding that balanced budgets are important, Roberts blasted the Draconian sequester — cuts that came after nearly a decade of belt-tightening by the judicial branch. Because they had previously reduced costs significantly, the $350 million in new across-the-board cuts have already made it difficult for justice to be protected, Roberts argued, noting that “because virtually all of their core functions are constitutionally and statutorily required,” the courts have little discretion over what they spend:

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