How Should Courts Approach Their Coronavirus Budget Crisis?

There are no easy answers. Courts are instituting hiring freezes and taking other similar actions. But perhaps the Federal Courts approach is correct, even if unlikely to be successful at a state level. Ask for more money now.

Federal Judiciary Requests Additional $36.6 Million from Congress for Covid-19 Response

The federal judiciary has requested additional funding and legislative changes from Congress to help federal courts respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. Previously, the judiciary was awarded $7.5 million in relief funding via the CARES Act, the $2 trillion relief package signed by the President in late March.

 

On April 28, the judiciary sent a letter to the leaders of the Senate and House Committees on Appropriations requesting an additional $36.6 million in funding for “emergent needs such as enhanced cleaning of court facilities, health screening at courthouse entrances, information technology hardware and infrastructure costs associated with expanded telework and videoconferencing,” among other costs for probation and pretrial services and costs related to security.

 

The judiciary also urged Congress to implement 17 legislative changes, including proposals intended to protect incarcerated people and criminal defendants, address administrative court matters after the pandemic, and alleviate certain statutorily imposed deadlines in bankruptcy cases. “The underlying objective behind each proposal is to ensure that the federal [j]udiciary continues to meet its constitutional mandate while protecting the health and safety of court personnel, litigants, and the public,” the judiciary wrote.

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