A couple of weeks ago, U.S. District Court Judge Richard George Kopf from the District of Nebraska weighed in on his blog “Hercules and the Umpire” regarding the Republican shutdown of the U.S. government. In particular, he was addressing the issue of determining which government employees are “essential” and which ones should be furloughed while the tea party has its way with the House of Representatives.
Enjoy this. It’s not the sort of thing you hear from a judge very often.
As the federal courts approach the point where all non-appropriated funds are expended, which remaining employees are essential becomes a heart-breaking question. STOP!
Reject the premise of the question. Given the loss of employees already suffered by the judiciary on account of the sequester and otherwise, why shouldn’t every remaining employee of every federal district court (including FPD employees) be declared “essential?”
If the Chief Judge, and all the district judges, issued an order so stating, the Clerk of Court, the Federal Public Defender and all the other Unit Executives, would be protected from prosecution under the Anit-Deficiency Act. Furthermore, there is a strong argument for such a declaration. Best of all, such an order would set up an inter-branch dispute worth having.
Given such an order, Congress would have two choices. It could do nothing in which event Congress loses its ability to destroy the judiciary be failing to pass a budget. Or, Congress could go batshit, and the judiciary and Congress could have it out. [...]
It is time to tell Congress to go to hell. It’s the right thing to do.
I so love this. And you know what makes it more sweet? Judge Kopf is a Republican appointee, put on the bench by George H.W. Bush.
H/T my pal Mark F. via the Lowering the Bar blog.