Chief Justice John Roberts said the U.S. judiciary should be spared as lawmakers and President Barack Obama look to hammer out a plan to cut federal spending.
Roberts, issuing his annual year-end report, said the federal courts have already cut costs by hundreds of millions of dollars under a plan the judiciary put in place in 2005. Those steps leave little room for the courts to absorb additional cuts, he said.
“Because the judiciary has already pursued cost-containment so aggressively, it will become increasingly difficult to economize further without reducing the quality of judicial services,” Roberts wrote.
Roberts said a “significant and prolonged shortfall in judicial funding would inevitably result in the delay or denial of justice for the people the courts serve.” In fiscal year 2012, which ended on Sept. 30, the courts were allocated $6.97 billion.
Roberts, now in his eighth year on the Supreme Court, reiterated his call for the other two branches of government to move more quickly in filling vacancies on the bench. He pointed to 27 slots that have been designated as “judicial emergencies.”
“I urge the executive and legislative branches to act diligently in nominating and confirming highly qualified candidates to fill those vacancies,” Roberts wrote.