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January 16, 2019

Statement of Bob Carlson, ABA president Re: Shutdown affecting federal courts

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16, 2019 — The American Bar Association is deeply concerned about the effects of the partial federal shutdown, especially on our federal courts and the administration of justice.  We call on Congress and the administration to reach a solution that, at the very least, funds agencies not directly implicated in the controversy over a border wall. 

The federal judiciary is essential to preserving constitutional democracy and the ABA has long advocated for its full and adequate funding.  Due to the shutdown, funds for federal courts will run out next week. Immigration courts, which have no current funding and are already dealing with an 800,000-case backlog, have canceled more than 42,000 hearings, forcing people who have waited years for justice to wait even longer.

Keeping our courts open and running is not a political issue. Rather, it is essential to the protection of due process and the rule of law.

With more than 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law. View our privacy statement online. Follow the latest ABA news at and on Twitter @ABANews.