Fix the Court executive director Gabe Roth issued this statement following the passage of the FY18 Financial Services Bill in the House Appropriations Committee:
The year marked the second in a row in which the justices did not testify about their budget before Congress, choosing instead to meet with members of the Appropriations Committee behind closed doors.
There’s no justification for the court’s decision to exempt itself from the convention that every government entity justify its annual funding in a public hearing, and I hope it changes next year.
That said, this bill does include $1.5 million for making information technology investments and directs the court to submit a report next spring detailing its IT plans and expenditures.
Compared to state courts and other federal appeals courts, the Supreme Court is significantly behind the times, but this IT funding and homework assignment from the Appropriations Committee can go a long way toward compelling the institution to modernize, whether via live audio of oral arguments, a software-based conflict-check system or an online filing portal, all of which cost less than what was appropriated.