Slashed funding and judicial layoffs have left too many Americans waiting for their cases to be heard
Nothing bespeaks third-world justice more than barriers to the courthouse. Nothing suggests a breach of the rule of law more than a government's refusal or inability to resolve its citizens' disputes in an orderly way. And yet all over America, courtrooms are being closed to litigants, precluding people and corporations alike from having their rights and responsibilities efficently adjudicated by state court judges.
How would you like to be a plaintiff in New Hampshire, seeking to recover damages for the breach of a contract, only to be told that your case is automatically on hold for one year? How would you like to be the litigant seeking to get to a jury trial, only to be told that it will be years before the judge and her staff will have the time and the courtroom space to make it happen? How would you like to be the guy waiting in limbo to have his divorce decreed final?
The issue is not as sexy in Washington as the miserable failure of the Senate to confirm President Barack Obama's federal judicial nominees. And perhaps for that reason the plight of the nation's state courts hasn't reverberated within the Beltway as loudly as it should. But more people each year are impacted by state court cases than by federal cases -- the count isn't even close -- and it's time America turned its eye toward this serious problem.