If the U.S. Congress fails to reach a compromise on the budget soon, severe cuts to federal agencies will occur automatically in January.
This would cause the federal court system to lay off almost 2,000 employees or furlough 20,000 workers for 16 days, the Federal Times reports.
David Sentelle, chairman of the executive committee of the Judicial Conference of the U.S., says that “up to 2,000 court staff positions (10 percent of the courts’ workforce) could still be lost or, alternatively, the equivalent of 16 furlough days for court staff could be required.”
Overall, cuts to the federal court system could amount to $555 million according to the Washington Post.
Spokesman for the Administrative Office of the Federal Courts, David Sellers, says they’ve developed a “master plan” to prepare for potential budget cuts. “They’ve taken it very seriously and methodically,” he said.
The choices on furloughs or court closures would ultimately be decided by individual court systems, the Federal Times says. Significant reductions might be made on training, travel limits, and freezes of promotions in order to minimize the impact on court employees.