The federal judiciary has issued its final extension as the government shutdown nears its fifth week.
The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts said Tuesday that it has enough funds to sustain operations through Jan. 31, but that no further extensions are possible without renewed funding. The extension marks the third time the judiciary has knocked back the date it expects to run out of funds.
The federal judiciary has used aggressive efforts to reduce spending, according to a representative for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Most of the measures are temporary stopgaps, and the judiciary will face deferred payment obligations after the partial government shutdown ends.
The judiciary is using court fees and other “no-year” funds to sustain operations during the shutdown. The shutdown, which began on Dec. 22, is the longest in modern history.
The Justice Department has pushed to pause many civil cases across the country in trial and appellate courts, arguing the federal Antideficiency Act generally precludes federal officials from working during a lapse in appropriations. There is an exception for cases involving human life and the protection of property.
Responding to requests from the U.S. Justice Department, some federal district courts have issued orders generally suspending civil litigation that involves federal agencies. A Jan. 7 advisory from the Administrative Office said “criminal cases are expected to proceed uninterrupted.”