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Federal Judiciary to Receive Increased Funding for Court Security in 2025
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Funding Boost for Federal Judiciary

The federal judiciary is set to receive $774.4 million for court security in 2025, marking a 4% increase from the previous year. This increase, aimed at enhancing the protection of federal judges, is part of a broader funding bill advanced by a Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives panel.

Increase in Discretionary Appropriations

The U.S. House Financial Service and General Government Subcommittee approved a funding bill through a voice vote, which includes over $8.8 billion in discretionary appropriations for the fiscal year beginning October 1, 2024. This amount represents a $173.9 million, or 2%, increase from the current fiscal year.

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Judiciary’s Request and Allocated Funds

Despite the increase, the allocated $774.4 million falls short of the judiciary’s requested $805.9 million for court security. The judiciary had cited a significant rise in threats against federal judges as a justification for their higher request. The approved amount is $554.6 million below what the judiciary sought.

Political and Security Context

This funding boost for the judiciary contrasts with the broader context of the bill, which Democrats criticized as a partisan measure. They argued it would reduce spending for regulatory agencies and underfund the Internal Revenue Service. However, the judiciary is one of the few government sectors to see an increase in spending.

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Support for Judicial Security

Gabe Roth, leader of the court reform group Fix the Court, expressed satisfaction with the bipartisan support for increased judicial security. He emphasized the importance of security for judges, especially in light of the growing threats against them. Roth stated, “We may not like certain opinions or ethics practices, but security is sacrosanct, and increased threats to judges should be met with an increased security budget, which we have here.”

Bill’s Future Prospects

The bill is now headed to the full House Appropriations Committee, where lawmakers plan to propose amendments. Without changes, it faces slim chances of passing in the Democratic-controlled Senate due to its non-judiciary spending provisions. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has declined to comment on the bill.



Rising Threats to Federal Judges

According to the U.S. Marshals Service, serious threats against federal judges rose to 457 in fiscal year 2023, up from 224 in fiscal 2021. A Reuters investigation revealed that many of these threats were directed at judges criticized by former President Donald Trump following rulings against his interests.

Supreme Court Security Enhancements

House Republicans highlighted in the bill’s summary that the legislation supports increased funding for the Supreme Court Police to provide residential protection for the Justices. The bill allocates $136 million for Supreme Court salaries and expenses, a more than 5% increase from current levels. The Supreme Court had requested $146.3 million, including $13.6 million to enable the Supreme Court Police to assume responsibilities currently handled by the U.S. Marshals Service in protecting the justices’ homes. The U.S. Marshals Service has been providing 24/7 protection for the nine justices since May 2022, following the leak of a draft opinion that eventually overturned the nationwide right to abortion.

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