MN's Top Judge Urges Leaders to Stop Judicial Budget Cuts

Updated: 08/16/2013 1:26 PM By: Kate Renner

It's a rare plea by Minnesota's highest-ranking federal judge to stop the budget cuts to the justice system.

Minnesota's chief judge and 86 others around the country say cuts from the recent sequestration are putting justice, even public safety, at risk.

Chief Judge Michael Davis for the District of Minnesota wrote a letter to congressional leaders. In it he calls the $350 million budget cuts due to the sequestration devastating, and he hopes Congress can reach a budget deal before more cuts are made in October or he'd have to start laying off crucial employees.

"If I look angry I am, because the numbers would be devastating," Davis said.

He says the judiciary operations budget is slashed to the bone and the justice system and public safety will be compromised.

In the letter he writes decreases in staff result in slower processing of civil and bankruptcy cases, and corporate disputes.

A major concern of Chief Judge Davis is that soon federal defenders will be cut and the federal government may be forced to hire private attorneys. He believes soon justice will not be served to the capacity it must be to to uphold the Constitution.

"For the third branch of the government, which is such a small part of the budget, when you do across the board cuts, it is devastating," Davis said.

Chief Justice John Roberts also wrote a similar plea in his end of the year budget report.