NY Capitol News

Shutdown showdown: Impact on NY and the Judicial Branch

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) - The U.S. Justice Department is now asking federal courts nationwide to pause moving forward in cases involving the government.

"The third branch of government should not be held hostage to their political battle," Michael Miller, President of New York State Bar Association, said.

Many federal cases are being postponed until the government shutdown comes to an end. The U.S. Justice Department says that the shutdown is restricting lawyers abilities to perform their duties since many employees labeled non-essential have been furloughed. Bringing into question what is essential and nonessential personnel.

"I happen to think everybody working in the court system is essential... Whether its the court clerks, whether its the backroom staff, whether its the court officers, security...they all play an important role in the administration of justice."

Miller says besides just court proceedings being affected, public safety is also at risk. Federal courts currently supervise nearly a quarter of a million probationers and defendants awaiting trial. But the shutdown could impact the work probation officers are able to perform.

"America is not just a place on a map. It's a set of ideals and principals firmly based on the concept of the rule of law, that all other things may be challenging but the administration of justice will go forward."

The Chief Justice of New Jersey yesterday sent out an order saying that due to lack of funding from the government shut down, all civil cases involving the federal government will be postponed. According to Miller, the federal courts here in New York are okay to proceed for now, but not for too much longer.

"They are operational but we're told that's only for a matter of ten or twelve days before they're going to have to make some very serious decisions that will impact the administration of justice."

The U.S. House and Senate are scheduled to meet again on New Year's Eve, but no deal is really expected to be made until after January 3rd when new members of Congress are sworn in.


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