Judiciary

Which federal court employees are essential? At least two courts say they all are


Each federal court is making its own plans for operations after the money runs out, and differences are already beginning to emerge.

The federal courts have enough money to continue operations for 10 days after the government shutdown. What happens after that? Many courts will likely send some employees home as nonessential workers, the National Law Journal reports.

The clerk of the federal court in the Western District of Pennsylvania, for example, said his court would follow a variation of North Dakota’s plan, which might designate as nonessential some workers in areas such as human resources or procurement.

But the NLJ learned that at least two courts have already determined that all of their employees are essential: the federal court in Manhattan and the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Chief Judge Loretta Preska of the Manhattan federal court told the NLJ in an email that the court has already cut employees because of sequestration cuts. “We are barely able to run the court on such a lean staff,” she said. “Accordingly, every employee of the court is critical to continuing to perform the court’s constitutional duties, and I have so designated each employee.

Headline corrected at 8:26 a.m.

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