Shutdown to affect federal courts
The government shutdown has affected millions of Americans in one way or another, and that includes federal court in Greeneville.
With funding on hold, the Federal Judiciary announced Thursday that it will remain open for business as usual through Oct. 17. However, after Oct. 17, if the government shutdown is still in effect, federal employees at the judiciary will likely be on non-paid status.
“When no funding mechanism was in place on Oct. 1, the Judiciary projected that fee income and no-year appropriated funds would enable court operations to continue for ten business days,” officials said in a press release. “The Judiciary has severely restricted spending during that period so that limited additional funding now exists. Spending rates and fund balances will continue to be monitored closely in hope that adequate funds may be available to allow courts to operate through the end of the work week – Oct. 18.”
Most of the Lakeway Area falls into the Sixth District, otherwise known as the Tennessee Eastern District Court (TEDC) in Greeneville where all federal cases and bankruptcy cases are heard.
Unlike many federally funded websites, the Tennessee Eastern District Court website is still up and running at http://www.tned.uscourts.gov/.
Case Management/Electronic Case Files (CM/ECF) will remain in operation for the electronic filing of documents with courts.
The federal courts may remain open during the shutdown, but it’s not necessarily going to be business as usual, according to a Department of Justice memo.
The memo states U.S. Attorneys across the country have been directed to “curtail or postpone” civil litigation “to the extent that this can be done without compromising . . . the safety of human life or the protection of property.”
However, criminal litigation will continue without interruption.
U.S. District Attorneys, and their offices, have been on non-pay status since the Oct. 1, according to a spokesperson at TEDC. That includes the office of U.S. District Attorney for Eastern Tennessee. A spokesperson for that office was unavailable Friday morning.
First Assistant United States Attorney for Greeneville and Knoxville Nancy Stallard Harr said their public information officer had been furloughed during the shutdown.
“As Presidential Appointees, U.S. Attorneys are not subject to furlough,” Harr said. “Excepted employees are needed to address ongoing criminal matters and civil matters of urgency throughout the nation. Criminal litigation will continue without interruption as an activity essential to the safety of human life and the protection of property.
“Civil litigation will be curtailed or postponed to the extent this can be done without compromising to a significant degree the safety of human life or the protection of property. If a court denies a litigator’s request to postpone a case and orders it to continue, the litigation will become an excepted activity that can continue during the lapse.
“Headquarters support will be maintained only to the extent necessary to support essential operations.”
-By Aletheia Davidson, Tribune Staff Writer