Nearly all trials and other federal court proceedings might come to a halt if the U.S. government shuts down because Congress cannot agree on the budget, the federal judiciary’s policy-making body warned.
The 27-member group, which is made up of judges from around the country and which meets twice a year, received a report warning of “potentially dire consequences” for the federal judiciary if a funding measure is not adopted soon.
David Sentelle, chief judge of the U.S. appeals court in Washington, D.C., told reporters a shutdown would mean court personnel, jurors, pretrial services and others in the judiciary would not get paid.
“Litigation might be grinding to a halt for awhile,” he said after the meeting, in which members of Congress briefed the group on efforts to reach an agreement on spending.
A stopgap funding measure to keep the government operating through April 8 is expected to be approved by Congress this week. But a deal has yet to be reached on keeping the government funded through the rest of the fiscal year.