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Post image for Chief Justice John Roberts Tells Congress They Are Threatening Public Safety

Chief Justice John Roberts Tells Congress They Are Threatening Public Safety

by Jean Ann Esselink on January 4, 2014

in Actions,Jean Ann Esselink,News,Politics

An obviously unhappy Chief Justice John Roberts railed against automatic “sequestration” budget cuts in his annual Year End Report On The Federal Judiciary. Chief Justice Roberts complained bitterly about the spending levels imposed by the 2011 Budget Control Act, warning that the cuts to the federal court system’s budget “pose a genuine threat to public safety.”

“Unlike most Executive Branch agencies,” Justice Roberts complains, “the courts do not have discretionary programs they can eliminate or postpone in response to budget cuts. The courts must resolve all criminal, civil, and bankruptcy cases that fall within their jurisdiction, often under tight time constraints.”

The Chief Justice spelled out exactly what continuing the Tea Party’s beloved sequestration cuts would mean for the federal court system:

There are fewer court clerks to process new civil and bankruptcy cases, slowing the intake procedure and propagating delays throughout the litigation process. There are fewer probation and pretrial services officers to protect the public from defendants awaiting trial and from offenders following their incarceration and release into the community. There are fewer public defenders available to vindicate the Constitution’s guarantee of counsel to indigent criminal defendants, which leads to postponed trials and delayed justice for the innocent and guilty alike. There is less funding for security guards at federal courthouses, placing judges, court personnel, and the public at greater risk of harm.

Perhaps Chief Justice Roberts needs to have a one-on-one talk with Senator Chuck Grassley, the ranking Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who recently announced he thinks sequester cuts are working. The Iowa conservative says he will not be voting for the Ryan-Murray budget deal that would alleviate some of the sequester pain, but which still has funding levels which Justice Roberts insists are not sufficient.

Chief Justice Roberts ended with this plea for sanity:

“Congress has set a target of January 15, 2014, to complete the appropriations process for fiscal year 2014. In the coming weeks, and into the future, I encourage the President and Congress to be attentive to the  needs of the Judicial Branch and avert the adverse consequences that would result from funding the Judiciary below its minimal needs.

The Judiciary continues to depend on the vision and statesmanship of our colleagues in the Executive and Legislative Departments. It takes no imagination to see that failing to meet the Judiciary’s essential requirements undermines the public’s confidence in all three branches of government.”


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BJLincoln January 4, 2014 at 12:22 pm

The GOP do not care. They don't care because they are not doing anything wrong and if they do get busted for something they don't care that it will take longer to process and convict them.
They don't care that more people are without money or food stamps. If you are poor, it's your own fault.
They don't care if poor people get healthcare because they have it and it's your fault for not working hard enough to get it. They don't have suggestions to replace the ACA because they are just fine with the old system.
Old, white, male, Christians do NOT give a rats @ss about jobs, healthcare for all or anything that does not touch their lives directly.
Their platform spells it out pretty clear. Women are stupid and should keep their mouth shut, black people are all lazy, aliens need to go home and queers do not need protections if they go back in the closet.
They just don't care. They have not been working for Americans. The sequester is gouging everyone except them so they don't care.
The truly sad part is there are people who will vote for them and we will have to continue to put up with elected officials who DON"T CARE ABOUT ANYONE BUT THEMSELVES.

Huntercgo January 5, 2014 at 7:49 am

Republicans don't like the idea of a free and independent judiciary — it doesn't always give them the decisions they want. I'm sure they'd rather set up arbitration panels to resolve disputes.

And as for criminal cases — just shoot the perps. The cops do it already anyway.

labman57 January 5, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Well Johnny, perhaps understanding causal relationships is not your strong suit.
You reap what you sow.

meamark January 5, 2014 at 5:47 pm

Justice Roberts helped create this mess by allowing corporate money to flow into the election system unabated. Now he is complaining. If he doesn't like what the corporate so-called conservatives are doing to our nation then maybe he shouldn't lean so far to the right.

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