Feds Closing 6 Courthouses in South; More Cuts Likely

The federal judiciary says it will close six courthouses in the South because of inadequate funding from Congress and the prospect of more cuts to come. Locations include Gadsen, Ala.; Pikeville, Ky.; Meridian, Miss.; Wilkesboro, N.C.; Beaufort, S.C.; and Amarillo, Texas, News Channel 5 reports. In addition to announcing the closings, the Judicial Conference asked all district courts to adopt shared administrative services and curb printing and mailing costs, according to the ABA Journal.

In related news, David Sentelle, chief judge of the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, this week warned that federal civil jury trials in the United States likely would have to be suspended if Congress fails to reach a budget deal next year. As reported by the Associated Press, he also said that the nation’s probation system and payment for defense lawyers could be thrown into disarray. If Congress does not reach a budget deal by year’s end, some $1.2 trillion in spending cuts and tax increases automatically will kick in. According to Sentelle, the federal judiciary's share of the cuts would be more than $500 million.