Federal Judges Push Back
In some courts, all employees 'essential.'
"These problems are magnified when they hit small rural districts," he said.
Appellate judges took action as well. In the Third Circuit, where staffing levels were already down more than 20 percent because of budget cuts, Chief Judge Theodore McKee declared all employees essential. One more librarian missing or information-technology staffer unavailable, he said, could hurt judges' ability to write opinions. "You take a motorcycle and you remove 21 to 28 percent of the spokes on the wheel. You cannot say to a mathematical certainty that any one single remaining spoke is essential," he said. "But I'm sure as hell not going to get on that motorcycle and ride it."
Contact Zoe Tillman at firstname.lastname@example.org. Todd Ruger contributed.