“[A]t some point, slashing state court financing jeopardizes something beyond basic fairness, public safety, and even the rule of law. It weakens democracy itself.” – New York Times editorial, Nov. 24, 2009
In states across the nation, a funding crisis is squeezing our courts, forcing unprecedented layoffs, furloughs and even closures.
Sharp budget cuts pose a growing threat to a fair, impartial and independent judiciary. When the “Closed” sign is hung even temporarily on the courthouse door, backlogs soar — and access to justice gets harder.
The impact of court funding shortfalls is wide and deep. Our courts uphold public safety and deliver justice for society’s most vulnerable. When courts are weakened, these protections are jeopardized.
Slashing court funding also can cost states thousands of jobs and cause economic harm. And underfunded courts hurt all taxpayers, who are forced to foot the bill when legal proceedings drag or people are wrongly imprisoned.
If fiscal hardship is allowed to hollow out a constitutional branch of government from within, it will erode not only the rule of law but ultimately, our freedom.