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July 2009

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This article is in the news archives --- for current news go to the Third Branch News.


Congress Acts on '09, '10 Funding

In June, a bill with supplemental funding for the Judiciary was signed by the President, while in July the federal courts' fiscal year 2010 appropriation was marked up in the House and the Senate.

Action on FY 2010 Funding

Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees reported their versions of the FY 2010 Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill in early July, which includes funding for the Judiciary.

The House bill gives the Judiciary $6.941 billion in FY 2010, a 6.9 percent increase in funding over FY 2009. The House level supports the Judiciary's workload-rated increases, as well as an hourly panel attorney rate of $139. The Senate bill includes $6.929 billion for the Judiciary, a 6.7 percent funding increase over FY 2009, with an hourly panel attorney rate of $115 per hour. The Judiciary's re-estimated FY 2010 funding request to Congress was $6.948 billion.

"Both the House and Senate funding recommendations should be sufficient to allow courts to fund fully current on-board staff in FY 2010," said Administrative Office Director Jim Duff, who anticipated that funding levels also should allow for staffing increases for those courts experiencing a growing caseload.

The full House was expected to consider its version of the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Bill in mid-July, while the Senate may not act on its bill until shortly before the August recess.

Supplemental Funding in War Bill

The Fiscal Year 2009 War Supplemental Appropriations Bill became Pub. L. 111-32 on June 24, 2009. The Act funded additional law enforcement and U.S. Attorney resources. Recognizing that additional immigration and law enforcement initiatives would affect the courts' workload, the Judiciary requested and was provided with $10 million in emergency supplemental funding to address the needs of the courts, defender services, fees of jurors and court security.

Duff also had requested that Congress consider additional funds for the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), specifically $4 million to address the need to enhance the personal security of judges along the southwest border. Escalating drug cartel violence along the Mexico-U.S. border and concerns about the personal safety of federal judges prompted the request. Supplemental funds are requested for the USMS to develop a security response plan for judges away from the courthouse. (See the May 2009 Third Branch newsletter, "Briefing Addresses Spillover Violence Along Border.") The USMS Judicial Security Division and the AO will cooperatively develop a spending plan for the funds.