Sixth Circuit Judge Julia Gibbons serves as the Chair on the Committee on the Budget of the Judicial Conference of the United States.  In that capacity, she has had the opportunity to see the effects of sequestration and other budget-related crises on the federal judiciary first-hand.  Earlier this week, Judge Gibbons testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning the effects of sequestration on the role of federal courts.  In Judge Gibbons’ testimony, she highlighted the constitutional obligations of the courts and the risk that drastic reductions in funding could compromise the constitutional mission of the federal courts.  In addition, she expressed concerns about the impact of sequestration on public safety, as the budgets of public defenders dwindle (meaning that criminal defendants may not be able to secure constitutionally-mandated counsel) and with respect to probation and pretrial service programs.  Needless to say, these issues certainly impact all lawyers and parties litigating cases in the federal courts (on both the criminal and civil side), and even though the topic may be one we prefer not to think about, it is certainly something that we all have a vested interest in.