Broken | U.S. Courts Face Backlogs and Layoffs
Or, does it really matter anymore?
They’re “flooded with cases from the bad economy,
yet denied the resources needed to deliver justice”
Prominent lawyers warn that court budget cuts will harm the economy
Stephen Zack, president of the American Bar Assn., compares the effect of recent state budget cuts on the U.S. courts to injustices perpetrated by the secret service in Cuba, the country he fled as a teenager after revolutionaries seized his family’s factories. “I am not speaking in hyperbole,” he says. “You can’t get equal justice if the courts are closed.”
Liberals have long bemoaned the problem of strapped courts, arguing that limited resources disproportionately affect the poor. Now, with states facing record budget deficits and trying to pare spending, courts around the country are trimming hours, laying off staff, and delaying trials. Businesses are watching with increasing concern. “It’s beginning to bite widely,” says David Boies, a trial lawyer at Boies, Schiller & Flexner who is best known for representing Al Gore in the 2000 Florida vote recount case that went before the Supreme Court.
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