Hafemeyer Law

Government Shut Down May Have Lasting Effect on Courts

The government shutdown only lasted 17 days, but many may see lasting effects. Not only were cases put on hold, but a lot of time was spent on planning what to do in a worst case scenario. Planning and prepping by court employees and judges ate up precious time that could have been spent working on the cases before the judiciary.  Judges and court employees spent countless hours prepping in an attempt to ensure the smallest impact if the government did close its doors.

On October 1, 2013, the predicted shutdown became a reality. Many cases were postponed and only those with the most time sensitive issues went forward. The impact was in part due to the fact that attorney’s in the federal courts were placed on furlough. And although many federal courts had announced that they would not shut down, many cases were postponed due to federal attorney’s being out of work. The postponing of cases could have a slinky effect on the court’s docket with lasting effects in the coming weeks if not months.

Case backlogs were not the only concern for court employees. Many feared that the court would run out of money. Although some did see delays in their bankruptcy matters general concerns over the ability to continue within budgetary demands seem to have been unrealized. The judiciary was fortunate enough to have 18 days of budgetary demands in reserve which gave them one day of funding to spare. A reserve fund, mostly paid with bankruptcy filing fees covered the wages and operations of the court during the shutdown.

Other workers who were declared essential, such as security guards, worked without pay to ensure those that those who did come to court were safe.





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