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American Bar Association urges Congress to restore funding cuts to federal judiciary

WASHINGTON, D.C., Aug. 21, 2013 — During the final weeks of the congressional August recess, American Bar Association President James R. Silkenat is asking the association’s nearly 400,000 members to contact their members of Congress to urge them to ensure that the federal judiciary has sufficient and certain funding for the next fiscal year.

“Unless the House and Senate agree to a budget that meets mandated discretionary spending caps or enact an alternative bipartisan deficit reduction plan, the federal courts could be subject to yet another round of across-the-board budget cuts,” Silkenat said in a letter to ABA members. “We must urge Congress to enact a fiscal year 2014 appropriation for the federal judiciary that restores funding cuts and assures access to justice.”

As a result of fiscal year 2013 sequestration cuts, the federal court system has already had to continue downsizing and furloughing staff, while scaling back programs that ultimately save the government money. In addition, funding reductions have caused cutbacks to federal defender services that jeopardize the Sixth Amendment rights of many indigent criminal defendants, slowed down the processing of civil and bankruptcy cases, and reduced pretrial and probation office programs as well as drug testing and mental health treatment programs.

With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. To review our privacy statement, click here. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.

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