37 Third Branch 1 (2005)

handle is hein.journals/thirdbran37 and id is 1 raw text is: THIRD
BRANCH

Newsletter
of the
Federal
Courts
Vol. 37
Number I
January 2005

2004 YEAR-END
REPORT ON THE
FEDERAL JUDICIARY
Overview
This Year-End Report on the Fed-
eral Judiciary is my 19th.
In last year's report, I focused on the
need to repair the relationship be-
tween the Judicial Branch and the Leg-
islative Branch. There is still much
work to do, but during the year many
judges and members of Congress have
worked together to begin to improve
the relationship, and I thank all of
them for their efforts. In part because of
criticism by members of Congress, in
May I appointed a committee, chaired
by Justice Stephen Breyer, to evaluate
and report on the way the Judicial
Conduct and Disability Act of 1980 is
being implemented. At the invitation
of Representatives Judy Biggert and
Adam Schiff, I met with the bipartisan
Congressional Caucus on the Judicial
Branch. Sitting down face-to-face
helps to establish better working rela-
tionships. I hope that these and simi-
lar efforts continue in the coming
years.
In this report, I will address the
funding crisis currently affecting the
federal Judiciary. I will also focus on
the recently mounting criticism of
judges for engaging in what is often re-
ferred to as judicial activism.

The Judiciary'
Budget Crisis
The Fiscal Year 2005
budget process has been
very difficult. The
Judiciary's appropriation
for the fiscal year that be-
gan on October 1 was not
signed into law until De-
cember 8. The recurring
delays in enacting annual
appropriations bills have
severely disrupted its op-
erations. Nine out of the
last 10 fiscal years began
with no appropriations
bills passed for the Judi-
ciary.
The continuing uncer-
tainties and delays in the
funding process, along
with rising fixed costs
that outpace any in-       Chief Justice
creased funding from
Congress, have required many courts
to impose hiring freezes, furloughs,
and reductions in force. In some cases
they have had to cut back services
available to the public. During Fiscal
Year 2004, this resulted in a 6 percent
reduction-il,350 positions-in em-
ployees other than judges and the
staff who work in their chambers. The
area of probation and pretrial services
was particularly hard hit.
In March I asked the Executive
Committee of the Judicial Conference,
chaired by Chief Judge Carolyn
Dineen King, to develop an integrated

eWilliam H. Rehnquist

strategy for controlling costs in Fis-
cal Year 2005 and beyond. The Com-
mittee did a yeoman's job, produc-
ing a comprehensive cost-contain-
ment strategy, which was endorsed
unanimously by the Judicial Confer-
ence in September 2004. The strategy
entails a moratorium on some court-
house construction projects; improv-
ing workforce efficiency; a study of
basic changes in the Judicial
Branch's approach to compensation
for non-judges; promoting more ef-
fective use of technology; a study of
possible program changes to reduce

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