Law Symposium Examines Effects Of Budget Cuts

Sep 23, 2011

A law symposium being held in Lexington is focusing on funding cuts to the justice system. The American Bar Association is calling the situation a "crisis." Underfunded, overburdened, and misunderstood - that's how American Bar Association president Bill Robinson has described the modern justice system in the U.S. He says funding cuts are pushing courts to the breaking point.

"We're no longer cutting fat in our court systems. We're down to muscle and bone," Robinson says.

Robinson is speaking at a symposium hosted by the University of Kentucky College of Law that's meant to highlight the problem, which he says is more serious than many imagine.

"Last year, forty out of fifty states cut court funding. Six states in this country close one day a week. Judges are being furloughed without compensation," he says.

Ultimately, Robinson warns, that means justice is denied. In 2010, about 3.5 percent of Kentucky's state budget, or $273 million dollars, went to fund the judiciary. That's close to $35 million less than the American Bar Association estimates is needed to fully fund necessary services in the state.