Federal Courts To Stay Open But U.S. Attorneys Postponing Civil Litigation During Government Shutdown.

By: BeresfordBooth

Despite politicians’ inability to resolve the budget impasse in Washington D.C., the Executive Office of the United States Courts recently announced Federal Courts will remain open through at least October 17—possibly through Friday, October 18th.  The Federal Courts have been operating on fee income and no-year appropriated funds to keep operations functioning since the shutdown started on October 1st by severely restricting spending.  But it is not “business as usual” in the Federal Court system for either the Courts or the U.S. Attorneys Office since the shutdown started.  For example, according to an October 10th memo from the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorneys across the country were asked to “curtail or postpone” civil litigation to the extent that this can be done without compromising….the safety of human life or the protection of property.” Because of the slowdown and the Department of Justice Directive, U.S. Attorneys are filing motions for stays of litigation. “Absent an appropriation,” the typical motion reads, “Department of Justice attorneys and employees are generally prohibited from working, even on a voluntary basis. . . . This is creating difficulties for the Department to perform the functions necessary to support its litigation effort.”



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