The Honorable Julia Gibbons of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, Chair of the Judicial Conference Committee on the Budget testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the impact of sequestration on the Federal Courts on July 13, 2013. Judge Gibbons noted the following:
“The sequestration cuts that took effect March 1, 2013, have had a devastating impact on federal court operations nationwide. . . . Many of these [emergency measures] have been painful and difficult to implement and reflect one-time reductions that cannot be repeated . . . . The emergency measures represent the Judiciary’s best effort to minimize the impact of sequestration cuts on the federal courts and the citizens it serves. Let me say at the outset that all aspects of court operations have been severely curtailed, and we do not have the surplus funding available within the Judiciary to transfer funds from one account to another.
“As a result of sequestration, funding allocations sent out to nearly 400 court units nationwide were cut 10 percent below the FY 2012 level. We estimate clerks of court and probation and pretrial services offices will downsize by as many as 1,000 staff during FY 2013 due to this reduction in funding. . . . The current staffing level of 20,100 personnel in the courts is the lowest since 1999 despite significant workload growth since that time. In addition to downsizing, the courts have already incurred 36,000 furlough hours as of June 2013 and a
total of 68,900 furlough hours are projected for FY 2013, which equates to 8,600 furlough days. We are still trying to ascertain the impact of these cuts on court operations, but we believe the staffing losses are resulting in the slower processing of civil and bankruptcy cases which will impact individuals, small businesses, and corporations seeking to resolve disputes in the federal courts. . . .”