U.S. Court, Defender Budget Cuts “A Deep Embarrassment,” ABA Leader Says


“There is no excuse that is acceptable under our Constitution for the cuts being made to our judicial system and to our federal public defender program” because of the federal budget sequestration process, says president-elect James Silkenat of the American Bar Association. Silkenat called the cuts “a deep embarrassment for a nation founded on the rule of law.” He said, “This is a situation that demands that Congress act now. No more roadblocks, no more stalemates. That is what our Constitution requires.” Silkenat spoke yesterday in Washington, D.C., as several legal organizations began a year-long commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the federal Criminal Justice Act of 1964, which established the right to counsel in federal court under the Constitution’s Sixth Amendment. The groups include the American Bar Association, Brennan Center for Justice, The Constitution Project, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association. Also speaking was Gustavo Gelpi, Jr., president-elect of the Federal Bar Association.

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