Friday, September 11, 2009
While many news stories have discussed the impact of the current economic downturn on the private sector, the effect on public institutions has been less publicized. The Wall Street Journal ran an eye-opening - and sobering - report about the recession's impact on our court system. While the article notes that at least 28 courts have instituted hiring freezes - and six have instituted furloughs - the situation appears to be "particularly severe" in Georgia.
Georgia, like many states, has a constitution which requires a balanced budget. Due to the budget requirements, Georgia is now facing severe budget cuts to comply with the constitution edict. Georgia courts are dealing with the economic crunch in several ways. For instance, "serious" criminal matters now have priority over minor criminal matters and civil litigation. The state's Supreme Court justices have voluntarily agreed to forego three days of pay in an attempt to ease the burden.
This story is of interest and concern to all who desire to see courts function as intended. As the noted quote says, "Justice delayed is justice denied." Let's hope that Georgia - and all of the affected court systems - can pull through this and get back to the business of dispensing justice in a swift fashion.