Court Security

Sequestration puts litigants and court personnel 'in physical jeopardy,' ABA says in joint statement

The American Bar Association is joining with two other legal groups to warn that across-the-board budget cuts threaten access to justice and put litigants, court staffers and judges “in physical jeopardy.”

ABA President Laurel Bellows signed the statement along with leaders of the American Association for Justice and DRI—The Voice of the Defense Bar, according to a press release. The statement (PDF) condemns the impact of “severe and indiscriminate federal court budget reductions through sequestration,” triggered by a failure to agree on a deficit reduction plan.

“In recent weeks, our nation has seen a spate of gun violence on court grounds in Alabama, Delaware, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas,” the statement says. “Yet sequestration will leave federal court security positions unfunded. State courts are already hamstrung from local budget woes and the projected shortfalls from sequestration will likely mean even fewer resources for state judicial systems.”

The statement also says sequestration will cause “costly delays,” affecting “the federal judiciary and every individual and business that depends on our courts.”

Bellows outlined her concerns in more detail in a Nov. 14 letter (PDF) to President Obama.

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