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Funding/Budget - Annual Report 2014

Fiscal Year 2014 Funding for the Judiciary

FY 2014 began with a lapse in appropriations across the federal government. As a result, most federal agencies were fully or partially shut down during the 16-day lapse period. The Judiciary was able to remain open for business, utilizing fee revenues to continue operations. Uncertain about how long the lapse in appropriations would last, the AO worked closely with the courts to provide shutdown guidance in the event fee balances were exhausted. As a precautionary step, many courts issued orders regarding operations under a continued lapse in appropriations and identified essential personnel who would continue to report to work. The AO also would have had to furlough a substantial number of staff if the lapse continued. Shutdown actions for the Judiciary were averted with the enactment of a Continuing Resolution on October 17, 2013, which ended the shutdown and funded the federal government through January 15, 2014.

Congress later passed, and the President signed into law, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014 (Pub. L 113-76), a multi-bill omnibus spending measure providing full-year funding for the federal government. The Judiciary fared well in the omnibus bill, receiving a 5.1 percent overall increase above the FY 2013 sequestration appropriations level. Congress clearly treated the Judiciary as a funding priority in the omnibus bill.

FY 2014 funding essentially restored the Judiciary to a pre-sequestration appropriations level and enabled the Judiciary to begin recovering from devastating FY 2013 sequestration cuts. Sequestration resulted in significant staffing losses in the courts, federal defender offices and the AO, reduced services to the public, and led to cutbacks in security spending. The FY 2014 funding provided by Congress enabled the Judiciary to roll back most, but not all, of the emergency measures that were put in place in FY 2013 to address sequestration.

The Courts' Salaries and Expenses account, which funds court operations nationwide, received a 4.9 percent appropriations increase. After all sources of financing were included, the final FY 2014 financial plan enabled most courts to meet on-board payroll requirements and to backfill some positions. The Defender Services account received a 5.9 percent appropriations increase, sufficient to fund all program requirements, including the ability to backfill most of the 400 positions federal defender offices lost in FY 2013 due to sequestration, and restore, beginning in September 2013, the panel attorney hourly rates that were temporarily reduced as an emergency measure. The Court Security and Fees of Jurors accounts received full funding for FY 2014.

The omnibus also provided urgently needed one-year extensions for nine temporary district judgeships whose authorizations were set to expire in FY 2014 in the Northern District of Alabama, the District of Arizona, Central District of California, Southern District of Florida, District of Hawaii, the District of Kansas, Eastern District of Missouri, District of New Mexico, and the Eastern District of Texas.

Courthouse Funding FY 2014

For the Judiciary’s space and facilities program, the FY 2014 omnibus bill provided $69.5 million to the General Services Administration (GSA) to fund fully the costs associated with the Mobile, Alabama, courthouse project, the Judiciary’s top courthouse construction priority, and the first courthouse project funded since FY 2010.

The bill did not include funding for the Judiciary Capital Security Program for FY 2014. The goal of the Capital Security Program is to address serious security deficiencies in existing courthouse buildings where physical renovations are viable alternatives to constructing a new courthouse.

Judge Julia Gibbons


Judge Julia Gibbons, chair of the Judicial Conference Budget Committee, Representative José Serrano, and Judge John D, Bates, AO Director, at the House hearing on the Judiciary’s FY 2015 funding needs. Serrano is the Ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government.

Fiscal Year 2015 Funding for the Judiciary

FY 2015 began with a Continuing Resolution (CR), a short-term spending measure funding most of the federal government. The CR and subsequent extensions ran through mid-December 2014, and funded federal agencies at essentially FY 2014 levels.

In October 2014, AO Director Judge John D. Bates and Judge Julia S. Gibbons, chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on the Budget, transmitted to Congress on behalf of the Judicial Conference a funding appeal that detailed the Judiciary’s updated funding requirements for FY 2015. The appeal identified an overall funding requirement of $6.70 billion in discretionary appropriations for the Judiciary in a final FY 2015 bill.

In December 2014, Congress passed the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, a multi-bill omnibus spending measure to fund most of the federal government through FY 2015. The President signed the bill into law on December 16, 2014 as Pub. Law No. 113-235.

Overall, the Judiciary received $6.70 billion in discretionary appropriations, the full amount of the Judiciary’s appeal, which was a 2.8 percent – or $182 million – increase above FY 2014 discretionary funding. In preparing the omnibus bill, the House and Senate Financial Services and General Government appropriations subcommittees received a 1 percent cut in their funding allocation below FY 2014, yet still provided the Judiciary with a 2.8 percent overall increase. This is an indication that Congress continues to view the federal courts as a funding priority.

The FY 2015 enacted appropriations level allows the federal courts to continue to recover from the harmful effects of the 2013 sequestration cuts, a recovery assisted by the Judiciary’s own long-standing efforts to contain costs.

The Salaries and Expenses account was funded at $4.85 billion, a 4.0 percent increase over FY 2014; the Defender Services account received $1.02 billion, which, when combined with carryover balances from FY 2014, is sufficient to fully fund FY 2015 requirements; and the Court Security account received a 3.3 percent increase to $514 million.

The omnibus bill also extended for one year 10 temporary district judgeships due to expire in 2015. The temporary district judgeships are in the Northern District of Alabama, the District of Arizona, the Central District of California, the Southern District of Florida, the District of Hawaii, the District of Kansas, the Eastern District of Missouri, the District of New Mexico, the Western District of North Carolina, and the Eastern District of Texas.

In addition, Pub. Law. No. 113-235 added Bakersfield, California, as a place of holding court in the Eastern District of California.

Courthouse Funding FY 2015

Congress did not provide any funding to the General Services Administration (GSA) for new courthouse construction in the FY 2015 omnibus bill. The President’s FY 2015 Budget did not request funding for courthouse construction, which Congress considers a necessary first step prior to considering funding, so it was unlikely funding would be provided in a final FY 2015 bill.

The omnibus did include $20 million for the Judiciary Capital Security Program to address security deficiencies in existing courthouse buildings where physical renovations are viable. Projects in Columbus, Georgia; Monroe, Louisiana; and Texarkana, Texas, will receive FY 2015 Capital Security Program funding.

FY 2015 Judiciary Appropriations (Discretionary Appropriations1) ($000)
Appropriation Account FY 2014
FY 2015
FY 2015
FY 2015
FY 2014/
FY 2015
% Change
U.S. Supreme Court
Salaries & Expenses
Care of Building and Grounds





U. S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit 29,600 30,212 30,306 30,212 2.1%
U. S. Court of International Trade 19,200 17,807 17,865 17,807 -7.3%
Courts of Appeals, District Courts &
other Judicial Services (CADCOJS)

Salaries & Expenses
Direct 4,658,830 4,827,588 4,846,818 4,846,818 4.0%
Vaccine Injury Fund 5,327 5,423 5,565 5,423 1.8%
Total 4,664,157 4,833,011 4,852,383 4,852,241 4.0%
Defender Services 1,044,394 1,053,158 1,016,499 1,016,499 -2.7%
Fees of Jurors &
53,891 55,827 52,191 52,191 -3.2%
Court Security 497,500 530,763 513,975 513,975 3.3%
Subtotal, CADCOJS 6,259,942 6,472,759 6,435,048 6,434,906 2.8%
Administrative Office 81,200 84,399 84,539 84,399 3.9%
Federal Judicial Center 26,200 26,959 27,113 26,959 2.9%
U.S. Sentencing Commission 16,200 16,894 17,008 16,894 4.3%
Total Discretionary, The Judiciary 6,516,125 6,735,637 6,698,703 6,697,784 2.8%
1This table reflects only discretionary appropriations for the federal Judiciary. Funding for mandatory costs are appropriated using "in addition/such sums" language that funds mandatory expenses on an actual cost basis, consistent with appropriated language for other mandatory programs government wide.