National Forum set on State Court Funding Crisis

The budget crisis facing state courts and its impact on courts carrying out their constitutional function will be the topic of a “national dialogue” at the University of Kentucky College of Law.

The agenda for the forum suggests the heightened interest in the legal community in the issue of massive court funding cuts and how they affect access to justice.

The Sept. 23-24 “Symposium on Court Funding” is sponsored by the American Bar Association, the Kentucky Law Journal and the National Center for State Courts, and it will feature ABA President Wm. T. (Bill) Robinson III (a University of Kentucky alum) as an honoree and keynote speaker, and immediate past ABA president Stephen N. Zack as a panelist.

Other participants will include state chief justices, legal scholars, practitioners, court administrators, business leaders and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader. To see an announcement for the event, click here, and for an agenda, click here.

An ABA task force has taken the lead in calling for public attention to the court funding crisis and ways that states can address it (see Gavel Grab). The ABA is a Justice at Stake partner, as is the National Center for State Courts.

The court funding crisis has hit so many localities nationwide that it’s a frequent topic of news media coverage, with the following examples from over recent days:

  • Courts in Collier and Lee counties in Florida are facing a money shortage due to the decline in foreclosure filings, the Naples News reported; filing fees are a primary revenue source for the courts.
  • The hard-hit San Francisco Superior Court will get a $2.5 million emergency loan, approved by the California Judicial Council, to prevent some layoffs and courtroom closings, according to a Bay Citizen article.
  • An article in the Lake County (Ca.) News was headlined, “Lake County Superior Court faces deep budget cuts; judges’ associations discuss state budget actions.”

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