Lawyers, Judges Testify That Shutdown Hurting Legal System

A panel of lawyers spoke today before the House Judiciary Committee about the effects of the shutdown on the judiciary and access to justice. The judiciary, already grappling with budget cuts from earlier this year, will find it more difficult to cope if the shutdown continues, the Blog of Legal Times reports. There will be more delays in court proceedings and further demoralization of attorneys and other employees who have made sacrifices under the sequester. A.J. Kramer, the federal public defender for the District of Columbia, said he expects to see public defenders file motions to force funding or to dismiss cases because of the lack of funding, citing U.S. Supreme Court case law saying defendants have a right to the services needed to present a defense. Robert Kengle, co-director of the Voting Rights Project of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, also warned that the shutdown could have  long-term effects on the enforcement of voting rights laws.