SAN FRANCISCO The pain of a 5 percent budget cut to the judiciary imposed by federal sequestration is starting to be felt in the Northern District of California.
The court announced late Wednesday that it would shutter all branches for one day each month between May and September. In Oakland, the five furlough days are scheduled for the first Monday of each month, starting May 6. For the other branches, the furlough closures will occur on the first Friday of the month, starting May 3.
By staggering the furlough days, judges will remain available for urgent matters. Federal buildings will be open with drastically reduced staffing to allow public access to drop boxes and the court's electronic case filing system will be available.
Hearings scheduled for closure days will be rescheduled and judges will determine whether court-imposed deadlines falling on furlough days should be postponed, the court's announcement states.
Sequestration reduced overall funding for the federal judiciary by almost $350 million. U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge Julia Gibbons, chair of the Judicial Conference Budget Committee, told Congress this week that the judiciary could not continue operating at the reduced funding levels "without seriously compromising the constitutional mission of the federal courts."
More information and a listing of the Northern District furlough days is available on the court's website.