The money to fund much of the federal judiciary runs out at the end of the week. While that’s an annoyance for litigators who have cases pending in Texas’ U.S. district courts, it’s a matter of life or death for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which is one of the nation’s busiest courts for federal death penalty appeals.
5th Circuit Judge Carolyn Dineen King says that the court has enough money to pay salaries until Oct. 18, which is causing a high level of anxiety among the court’s staff.
“People are very worried,” King says. And they are waiting for orders from their federal superiors as to what will happen if the congressional funding crisis isn’t resolved by the end of the week.
“I’m sure there is a contingency plan, not only about death penalty cases, but others, as well,” King says. “I think, this coming week, we’ll be finding out about the contingency plan. We haven’t had the specifics, but I gather we’ll have to get them this week.’’
--- John Council