As it does every year, the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts has propounded a budget request to Congress for the upcoming fiscal year. The new request seeks a 4.4% increase in the overall judicial budget, with the money helping to cover Congressionally approved judicial pay raises, updating older facilities, and implementing federal legislation concerning the courts. More money is also needed for base salaries because many federal judicial vacancies — especially at the district court level — have been filled over the past year.
But that didn’t stop the reporters and editors at Bloomberg Law from telling us what the increase is really about: Donald Trump. In a story titled, Judiciary Requests More Money for Trump Judges, Bloomberg asserts:
President Donald Trump’s judicial appointments are among the factors contributing to the federal judiciary’s request to Congress for a 4.4% increase in its budget.
Trump has moved aggressively to fill the federal judiciary with conservatives. So far, that’s resulted in 188 judicial appointees to federal district and appeals courts, and two justices on the Supreme Court: Brett Kavanaugh and Neil Gorsuch.
The judiciary’s requested funding boost for the next fiscal year takes into account money needed to provide salary and benefits for a higher-than-expected volume of judges confirmed and their chambers staff, a judiciary spokesman said.
This is remarkably lazy writing and editing. The headline is slanted — the money is for the workings of the entire judiciary, not just “Trump Judges” — and the opening grafs suggest that there is something unseemly about the President and Senate fulfilling their constitutional roles to populate the judiciary.
There is probably little practical harm that will come out of this sloppy article, but the public — and the courts — deserve better.