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Federal Courts across the Country Determined to Stay Open
Federal courts across the country are trying hard to remain open and continue to function even though money is set to run out by Oct 17. While most courts have sent a part of their employees on furlough, those who are considered essential continue to attend court and work as usual.
Many federal courts, like that in San Diego haven’t yet sent any employee on furlough. In some circumstances, federal courts have also managed to find other sources of funding beyond budget.
Federal court officials announced on Thursday that the court’s administrative office in Washington DC has found funding from court fees and other sources to keep federal courts running. These sources are not tied to the annual budget.
However, most federal courts are drawing up a list of nonessential employees to send on furlough if the government shutdown continues longer, and until now there’s little sign of the situation resolving anytime soon.
In Pennsylvania, Chief U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti has declared all court staff as “essential” personnel in Western Pennsylvania. Classifying all court staff as essential personnel means they become guaranteed to receive pay for work once the government shutdown ends.
Consequently, after declaring all court staff as essential, Conti ordered court personnel to keep working even if the courts run out of money.
The third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has also declared all its staff as ‘essential’ and the same strategy has been taken up by some other federal offices including those of U.S. Marshals, after Attorney General Eric Holder declared marshals as essential personnel if courts remain open.
In sum, it seems that we may expect federal courts to continue functioning and federal court employees to continue attending work with their payment guaranteed if their services are deemed essential and declared as such.