Updated 2:10 p.m.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit announced this morning that all oral argument hearings scheduled for April will go on as scheduled even if federal funding lapses at midnight.
The appeals court also said in a notice that deadlines for court filings remain as scheduled. The court has six hearings scheduled between April 11 and April 21.
“The Administrative Office of the United States Courts has announced that the Judiciary is prepared to use non-appropriated fees to keep the courts running for up to two weeks,” the D.C. Circuit said. “Once that funding is exhausted, however, the federal courts face serious disruptions.”
In the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the threat of a government shutdown has already had an effect on pending civil cases. Judges this week began issuing deadline extensions.
Yesterday, the Justice Department asked Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle to extend the briefing schedule in a Freedom of Information Act case that Jenner & Block filed on behalf of Coalition of Educational Services over access to documents about the for-profit college sector. The government also asked in its filing that the judge stay proceedings if there’s a shutdown.
Huvelle this morning issued an order extending the briefing schedule one week and told the lawyers in the case, including Jenner partner Paul Smith, that the attorneys must file a status report within a week of the resumption of normal federal government operations.
The assistant U.S. attorney assigned to the case, Andrea McBarnette, said she would not be able to report to work in the event of a government shutdown. In a joint motion to extend the briefing schedule, McBarnette said “the agency has and must continue to turn its attention to shutdown-related tasks.”
At a hearing yesterday in Washington in a civil case, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeremy Simon asked Judge Reggie Walton to issue an order staying deadlines in the event of a shutdown, since he wouldn’t be allowed to report for duty.
Walton granted the request, but not before wondering aloud whether Congress might “take notice” if the courts instead started throwing out cases where the government’s attorneys could no longer participate.
Staff writer Zoe Tillman contributed to this report.