The Washington Post reports that in his year-end report Chief Justice Roberts:
stressed frugality rather than controversy in his eighth report as chief justice, saying the federal courts already are doing their part in holding the line on spending.
“No one seriously doubts that the country’s fiscal ledger has gone awry,” Roberts wrote in a report issued as President Obama and congressional leaders continued to work toward a deal on taxes and spending.
“The public properly looks to its elected officials to craft a solution. We in the judiciary stand outside the political arena, but we can continue to do our part to address the financial challenges within our sphere.”
But Roberts said the Supreme Court, all other federal courts, the Federal Judicial Center and the Administrative Office of the United States Courts together consume a “minuscule” portion of the federal budget: $6.97 billion of a $3.7 trillion allocation.
“Yes, for each citizen’s tax dollar, only two-tenths of one penny go toward funding the entire third branch of government!” Roberts wrote. “Those fractions of a penny are what Americans pay for a judiciary that is second to none.”
Some Senate leaders have expressed concern that the judiciary has not developed contingency plans for cuts should congressional leaders not reach an agreement on the “fiscal cliff.”
But Roberts noted that, unlike executive departments, the courts “do not have discretionary programs they can eliminate or projects they can postpone. The courts must resolve all criminal and civil cases that fall within their jurisdiction, often under tight time constraints.”