[JURIST] Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts [official profile] on Monday released his 2012 year-end report [text, PDF], in which he urged the executive and legislative branches to address the needs of the federal judiciary in terms of financial and human resources. Roberts noted that the judiciary has been receiving only a small percentage of the federal budget to maintain its operations. He also described how the judiciary, as a result, has aggressively tried to cut costs since 2011 despite inflation, budget deficits and increased costs to maintain adequate service to the public. Notwithstanding the cuts and cost saving measures, however, Roberts went on to state that it has been increasingly difficult to cut additional costs while maintaining the judiciary’s core functions that are “constitutionally and statutorily required” and still addressing the increasing caseloads of the courts. Unlike the executive branch, which has discretionary programs that it can either postpone or terminate, the judiciary must take cases that are within its jurisdiction. Roberts therefore stressed that justice would be undermined if insufficient funding for the judiciary continues, and encouraged President Obama and Congress to consider appointing additional judges to maintain the rule of law.
It is not the first time Roberts has asked the president and Congress to provide additional resources for the judiciary. In 2008 Roberts pressed for raises for federal judges [JURIST report] in his annual year-end report on the federal judiciary that year. As in the recent report he detailed steps that have been taken by the judiciary to reduce spending on rent, personnel and information technology and insisted that its members’ requests were modest. In 2007 Roberts called for judicial pay raises [JURIST report] in accordance with pending legislation. In his 2006 report [JURIST report], Roberts declared that raises were necessary to keep up with private-sector salaries and to maintain the quality and independence of federal judges. Roberts’ first annual report [JURIST report] in 2005 contained similar requests.