Judicial conference official warns of budget cuts' 'painful' effects on courts

, The National Law Journal


Congress needs to restore funding to the federal court system or risk problems like lengthy case delays, inadequate counsel for criminal defendants and reduced safety at courthouses, an official with the Judicial Conference of the United States told a congressional panel March 20.

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What's being said

  • Spook

    End the war on drugs, and there goes at least half of the problem!

  • Darren McKinney, American Tort Reform Association, Washington, DC

    Judge Gibbons would have Congress and taxpayers believe that judges have no control over court workloads, but she'd have been more accurate had she reported that too many judges fail to exercise their authority and discretion to control workloads. For were Judge Gibbons to leaf through the dozens of consumer class actions filed in just the past two years in the Northern District of California, she would find that most are wholly absurd, self-serving efforts by plaintiffs' lawyers to exploit California's consumer protection law in pursuit of riches for themselves and mere coupons for class members. Some of these efforts are tantamount to frauds on the court wherein, for example, a Berkeley graduate serving as a lead plaintiff alleges she was misled about a food product's nutritional content by front-of-the-box labeling despite plainly understandable and federally mandated nutrition labeling on the back of the box. As long as federal and state judges embrace such lawsuits, as opposed to summarily dismissing them and threatening the lawyers who file them with a few days in a jail cell for contempt, court budgets will be painfully stretched and Americans with righteous court business will be forced to take a number and wait.

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