Yesterday, Chief Judge McKee issued an Order of the Chief Circuit Judge Regarding the Operations of the Courts in the Absence of an Appropriation or Continuing Resolution Enacted by the United States Congress and Signed by the President. That Order is available here. That Order declares that “[t]he dispensing of justice is mandated by the Constitution and essential to government, and the resolution of cases and controversies is the principal work and product of the federal courts.” Accordingly, employees of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals and “ancillary units,” such as the Circuit Executive’s Office, the Clerk’s Office, and others, are “deemed to be essential as part of the support for the exercise of judical powers” during the current federal government shutdown. The Order leaves it to District Court Chief Judges within the Third Circuit to determine essential functions and staff for their respective courts.
As a result, the Order directs all employees of the Third Circuit and ancillary units to “report to work for their regularly scheduled hours to continue all normal operations of the Court of Appeals,” with certain exceptions. In a separate statement, available here, Chief Judge McKee notes that this means that employees are being asked “to continue their superb performance without receiving a regularly scheduled paycheck. This results in dire financial consequences to our employees and their families, as well as to local economies. All Judges in the Third Circuit express their appreciation for the excellent and dedicated manner in which the employees of the courts discharge their responsbilities.”
Today, there were some hints of a potential for the shutdown to end. Meanwhile, however, the Third Circuit is open for business, with its dedicated employees working without pay.