US Supreme Court tightens budget belt

By Jonathan Ames

02 January 2013 at 11:52 BST

As the US teetered on the edge of a fiscal cliff, the country's top judge proudly claimed in the last few days that the judiciary has dutifully tightened its belt in tough economic times.

Chief Justice Roberts: an eye on the Supreme Court budget

Chief Justice Roberts: an eye on the Supreme Court budget

In his annual report issued on the last day of 2012, Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts Jr pointed out that his bench had budgeted for cuts of nearly 4 per cent for the 2014 fiscal year. He also claimed that more widely the national bench provided Americans with good value for money, saying that the entire judicial system represented only two-tenths of a penny in every tax dollar.

Gone awry

A report in the Legal Times says the judge prodded the US legislature to get to grips with national debt. ‘No-one seriously doubts that the country's fiscal ledger has gone awry,’ the publication quotes Justice Roberts as saying, continuing: ‘The public properly looks to its elected officials to craft a solution. We in the judiciary stand outside the political arena, but we can continue to do our part to address the financial challenges within our sphere.’
The magazine reports that the latest budget for the Supreme Court comes in at $74.89 million -- a 3.7 percent decrease from the level three years ago. Likewise, the judge pointed out that last year the country’s entire judiciary cost US tax payers slightly less than $7 billion. ‘For each citizen's tax dollar, only two-tenths of one penny go toward funding the entire third branch of government,’ the judge is quoted as saying. ‘Those fractions of a penny are what Americans pay for a judiciary that is second to none.’


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