Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn attacks spending by U.S. courts

In his latest salvo at federal agencies bemoaning budget cuts, Coburn notes that court judges have still been attending conferences at expensive resorts
by Chris Casteel Published: August 5, 2013

“Instead of spending millions of dollars on unneeded and poorly planned courthouse construction, the federal Judiciary should properly assess these costs in advance by accounting for congressional size limits, the number of judges utilizing the courthouse, courtroom sharing and maintenance costs,” Coburn wrote.

Coburn asked Bates for details on conference spending and construction and for a breakdown of the people who are being furloughed.

Two weeks ago, a judge on the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals testified to a Senate subcommittee that the judiciary had been containing costs — including those for office space — but that sequestration was hurting all aspects of the U.S. court system.

Judge Julia Gibbons said the court system's staff level is the lowest since 1999; by the end of September, she said, 8,600 furlough days will have been logged throughout the system.

“We are still trying to ascertain the impact of these cuts on court operations, but we believe the staffing losses are resulting in the slower processing of civil and bankruptcy cases which will impact individuals, small businesses, and corporations seeking to resolve disputes in the federal courts,” she said.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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