Philadelphia Bar Association Resolution Supporting Adequate Funding of the Federal Judicial System

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association promotes respect for the rule of law, access to the courts and equal justice for all; and

WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association works on issues of concern to the judiciary, as well as to the bar; and

WHEREAS, the federal judicial system is a co-equal branch of the United States government pursuant to Article III of the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, the federal judicial system has Constitutional duties which should not be interfered with; and

WHEREAS, the federal judicial system, including the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Courts have faced significant staff cuts and faced budget constraints in the past, as well as the longest shutdown ever of the federal government lasting for thirty-five days beginning on midnight Eastern Standard Time on Saturday December 22, 2018, and ending February 15, 2019, which seriously impacted the federal judicial system; and

WHEREAS, during the most recent thirty-five day federal government shutdown, courts were delaying new hires, cutting travel unrelated to cases, asking employees not to report to work, expecting to only be able to pay employees for a limited period of time, and were deferring some contracts; and federal courts were being asked to delay cases involving the government due to the government shutdown affecting the ability of government lawyers to perform their duties and meet deadlines; and

WHEREAS, it is anticipated that there could be shutdowns of the federal government which could impact the federal judicial system in the future; and

WHEREAS, a continuous level of funding is necessary for the federal judicial system to carry out its mission of providing fair and impartial justice in a timely manner; and

WHEREAS, the inability for the federal judicial system, including the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Courts to carry out their missions and/or to face possible closure will interfere with being able to provide fair and impartial justice to all, which is of great concern to the Philadelphia Bar Association, and the public; and

WHEREAS, any funding dispute between the Legislative and Executive Branches should not impact full and adequate funding of the Judicial Branch,

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association urges Congress and the Executive Branch of the Federal government to take all actions, and to adopt laws and policies that ensure full and adequate court funding is provided at all times for the federal judicial system, including the United States Third Circuit Court of Appeals and the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Courts so that federal courts will be able to remain open in order to fulfill their constitutional duties at all times;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association urges full and adequate court funding be provided on a continuous and uninterrupted basis, and at all times in the future, for the federal judicial system, so that all individuals, as well as business and other organizations, have access to justice by assuring that the federal judicial system has the funding necessary to permit the courts to remain open and perform their constitutional functions and duties effectively and efficiently;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association calls on state and local courts to be cognizant of the impact of any shutdown of the federal government on litigants who are federal employees not being paid;

AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Chancellor and/or the Chancellor's designee(s) communicate the Philadelphia Bar Association's position and take whatever action is necessary to effectuate this resolution.

PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: February 28, 2019