Will Budget Cuts Hurt Our Judiciary (And Tennesseans)?

The state’s law libraries are closing their doors to lawyers and other citizens.  The Administrative Office of the Courts is cutting programs and staff.  Appellate court law clerks are fearing the loss of their jobs.

Tennessee budget problems are hitting the judiciary and it remains to be seen what impact the financial cuts have on civil jury trials.  In New Hampshire,  civil and criminal jury trials are being eliminated for an entire month.  Florida has cut 280 clerks, lawyers and staff members, and if another 10% budget cut is made civil jury trials will be suspended, according to one judge.

Will the budget crisis force the state to take a hard look at judicial system?  There are some tough questions that will be asked.  Do we need two sets of clerks – chancery and circuit?  Should the Tennessee Supreme Court be given the power to administer the court system, allocating resources across the state as needed?

Challenging times given rise to the need to ask -and answer – tough questions.