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March 2011

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


Judicial Leaders Hear Concerns Over Funding

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Seated: (LtoR) Chief Judge Sandra L. Lynch (1st Cir.); Chief Judge Dennis Jacobs (2nd Cir.); Chief Judge Theodore A. McKee (3rd Cir.); Chief Judge William B. Traxler, Jr., (4th Cir.); Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr.; Chief Judge Edith Hollan Jones (5th Cir.); Chief Judge Alice M. Batchelder (6th Cir.); Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook (7th Cir.); Chief Judge  William Jay Riley (8th Cir.). <br /><br />
Standing, Second Row:  (LtoR) Chief Judge Mark Wolf, (D. Mass.); Judge Carol Bagley Amon (E. D. NY); Chief Judge  Harvey Bartle III (E.D. Penn.); Chief Judge David Bryan Sentelle (D.C. Cir.); Chief Judge Randall R. Rader (Fed Cir.);  Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, (9th Cir.); Chief Judge Mary Beck Briscoe (10th Cir.); Chief Judge Joel F. Dubina (11th Cir.); Judge James P. Jones (W.D. Va.); and Chief Judge Sarah S. Vance (E.D. La.).
<br /><br /> Standing, Third Row:  (LtoR) Judge Thomas A. Varlan (E.D. Tenn.); Chief Judge Richard L. Young (S.D. Ind.); Chief Judge Robert S. Lasnik (W.D. Wash.); Judge Robin J. Cauthron (W.D. Okla.); Judge Rodney W. Sippel (E.D. Mo.); Judge Myron H. Thompson (M.D. Ala.); Chief Judge Royce C. Lamberth (D. DC); Chief Judge Donald C. Pogue (Int'l Trade.); and James C. Duff, Dir, AOUSC.

Judicial Conference members

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(seated from left to right), Administrative Office Director James C. Duff (ex-officio), Chief Judge Joel F. Dubina (11th Cir.), Chief Judge Sarah S. Vance (E.D. La.), Chief Judge William B. Traxler, Jr. (4th Cir.) <br /><br />(standing left to right) Judge Rodney W. Sippel (E.D. Mo.), Judge Robin J. Cauthron (W.D. Okla.), Chief Judge Harvey Bartle III (E.D. Pa.), and Chief Judge David B. Sentelle (D.C. Cir.).

Executive Committee members

At its March meeting, the Judicial Conference received a report on the potentially dire consequences the federal Judiciary may face if a Fiscal Year 2011 funding measure is not soon adopted.

In her report to the Judicial Conference, Judge Julia Smith Gibbons, chair of the Budget Committee, addressed four specific areas of immediate concern:

  • The possibility of a lapse in appropriations and its impact on the courts;
  • The uncertainty over the final funding level for the courts and the possibility of sudden and severe disruptions of service;
  • That the Judicial Branch's views will not be represented when the other two branches discuss and negotiate the budget;
  • And the potential for having to defer payments to lawyers appointed to represent indigent defendants under the Criminal Justice Act.

The budgetary uncertainty comes at a time when nearly all facets of court workload are growing, particularly bankruptcy and probation and pretrial services. Gibbons credited the court system's on-going commitment to cost containment for slowing the growth in the Judiciary budget requirements. Nevertheless, she expressed concern that the Judiciary could face several years of difficult budgets that may result in reductions in services.

In other matters, the Conference:

  • Encouraged all circuit judicial councils to consider establishing "judicial wellness" committees to create programs, policies and practices that provide a supportive environment for the maintenance and restoration of health. Such committees also would provide information to judges on judicial retirement issues, including disability retirement. Similar initiatives have been undertaken by other private, not-for-profit, and public sector organizations.
  • Adopted a new policy governing the management of sex offenders, calling for, among other things, specialized training for probation and pretrial services officers who work with sex offenders and sex offense victims, and for reduced caseloads for such officers.