With all the attention devoted to the "fiscal cliff' and the impact of the deep cuts to defense spending that are scheduled to kick in on Jan. 1, there's a lesser-recognized, but essential, governmental function that will also be critically harmed our federal courts and the administration of justice.
Unless Congress acts, the automatic budget cuts will require the layoff of one-quarter of all federal court personnel, including those in the federal courthouse in Salt Lake City.
The hearing and resolution of thousands of cases, civil and criminal, will be delayed. Hours of operation in the clerk's office will be sharply reduced. Federal judges will likely suspend jury trials due to reductions in available jury fees.