Funding will carry federal courts for 3 weeks if government shuts down; Mueller probe is unaffected

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Federal courts will remain open if there is a government shutdown, though there could be some changes after the money runs out.

The judiciary will be able to continue operations until Feb. 9, according to a spokeswoman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Federal courts would remain open using revenues from fees and long-term appropriation, she told Law.com.

Law.com spoke with federal court officials in Washington, D.C., to learn what would happen when the money runs out. The federal appeals court would still hold arguments and accept filings, though some employees might be furloughed. The district court would implement a plan involving “essential personnel and court operations.”

During the October 2013 shutdown that lasted 17 days, federal courts remained open and functioning. As the shutdown continued, chief judges in many districts declared that all of their employees were essential and needed to stay on the job

The Justice Department, meanwhile, has a contingency plan to furlough nearly 83 percent of its employees after a funding lapse, according to Law.com. Criminal litigation would continue, but civil litigation would be put on hold unless there is a need to protect human life or property. Activities funded by permanent appropriations would continue.

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe would continue because it doesn’t rely on an annual appropriation, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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