John Cruden Quoted in E&E News on Impact of Government Shutdown

Principal John Cruden (Washington, DC) was quoted in a January 25 article in E&E News titled "'Uncharted Territory' as Shutdown Hobbles Cases." The article focuses on the potential impact of the recent partial government shutdown on federal courts.

The judiciary branch had enough funds to survive the first several weeks of the shutdown, but it expects to run out of money late next week if the partial government shutdown continues. The courts won't shut their doors, but they will have to trim services and staff.

John, who formerly served as Assistant Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice's Environment and Natural Resources Division, noted that "if the courts are starting to run out of money and they have to then prioritize, then that complicates things even further. We're writing on a blank slate because this hasn't happened before, and we will all be watching as the courts decide how to administer the shutdown requirements and comply with the Antideficiency Act."

Previous funding lapses haven't lasted long enough to force major cutbacks in federal courts, so it's unclear what level of operations they will maintain once funding dries up. When the shutdown ends, government lawyers will have to catch up on mountains of work regardless.

"It's not like a light switch: the lights were off, then you turn them back on, and everything goes back to normal," said John. "All shutdowns create a backlog. When the government opens back up, and all employees return to work, they are then facing an avalanche of responsibilities, dealing with delayed work over the shutdown period and the new work just coming in. It's extremely disruptive."

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