January 21, 2019: State Bar President: Government Shutdown is a 'Dereliction of Duty' and a 'Constitutional Crisis'

New York State Bar Association President Michael Miller today released the following statement:

“Martin Luther King, Jr. said that ‘our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.’ So, it is appropriate that today, on the day we observe his 90th birthday, the New York State Bar Association is speaking out about the current government shutdown and the devastating impact it is having on the lives of so many Americans.

“The continuing government shutdown has become a Constitutional crisis as federal courts across the country have cut back operations severely and by later this week, will be forced to shut down entirely.

“It is truly a dereliction of duty to have allowed a political fight to escalate to the point that essential parts of our judicial system – under the Constitution, a co-equal branch of government – are unable to serve the American people. Furthermore, it is a violation of the oath of office taken by the President and members of Congress to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

“The New York State Bar Association (NYSBA) just completed our 142nd annual meeting in New York City and throughout the event, our members expressed their concerns about the impact of the shutdown, which is impairing our legal system and undermining the rule of law.

“The State Bar Association’s 278-member House of Delegates unanimously adopted a resolution on January 18 condemning the federal government shutdown and calling for it to end immediately. NYSBA will be presenting a similar resolution to the American Bar Association House of Delegates at its meeting on January 28.

“The federal courts supervise nearly a quarter of a million probationers and defendants awaiting trial. The shutdown will diminish the number of pretrial service and probation officers available to supervise and support probationers released into the community and will surely impact the quality of supervision of accused pretrial defendants released on bail.

“On behalf of the State Bar Association’s more than 70,000 members, we call on the Congress and the President to take any and all steps necessary to provide the resources necessary to keep the courts open and the justice system functioning.”

Contact: Dan Weiller
dweiller@nysba.org
518/487-5500