U.S. District Chief Judge Joy Flowers Conti issued an order today declaring all Western District Court employees to be essential, meaning they will be required to work without immediate prospects of being paid, likely starting Oct. 18.
Judges must be paid under the U.S. Constitution, but the order is expected to keep around 160 members of judges' staffs and of the clerk's offices working in Pittsburgh, Johnstown and Erie despite the lack of funds to pay them.
The judiciary has been able to forestall the effects of the partial government shutdown because it collects and keeps fees. That money is expected to run out around the close of business on Oct. 17.
After that, all employees will have to report to their duty stations, and are expected to keep the civil and criminal functions of the courts running as normal. They would be paid for their time worked after the government is fully funded again.
The order declared a freeze on non-case-related travel and hiring.
Juror pay also may be delayed.
Rich Lord: email@example.com, 412-263-1542 or Twitter @richelord. First Published October 9, 2013 8:58 PM