The proposed no-growth budget submitted for the New York State judiciary is a stark reminder of the current economic and political climate. We applaud Chief Judge Lippman, Chief Administrative Judge Prudenti, and the Office of Court Administration for their adept handling of the judicial budget in these times of fiscal constraints. We also applaud the chief judge for the additional $15 million he allocated in the proposed budget toward providing civil legal services to low-income New Yorkers. We call upon the Legislature to approve the proposed budget.
Nevertheless, as NYCLA’s Task Force on Judicial Budget Cuts observed during the course of its work that began after the judicial budget was slashed by $170 million in 2011, the cuts came with costs in terms of access to justice. We urge that, as promptly as possible, a substantial portion of the budget cuts be restored so that access to justice can be increased for all New Yorkers. The judiciary is a separate and independent branch of government deserving of adequate resources to carry out its mandate.