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On three upcoming dates - August 6th, September 4th and October 15th - all state courts will be closed due to a mandatory furlough of judicial employees that was necessitated by cuts to the court system's budget.
I find this troubling. Not because I don't agree that cuts in public spending are absolutely necessary when revenues are down. But because I believe a clear distinction should be made between the frivolous and the essential when deciding what to cut. And the services provided by Kentucky's courts are among the state's most essential.
As it is, our court system is already overloaded. And the elimination of three more days from the year's calendar will only make the situation worse -- because each day the courthouse doors are locked will just put more pressure on the system to sacrifice real justice in order to simply move cases along.
But there's another problem. I'm also concerned that the budget cuts causing this situation were passed by Kentucky's General Assembly - the state's legislative branch. When we find ourselves in a situation where one of the three branches of government is able to essentially impose limitations on the effectiveness of one of the other branches, I think we're edging onto constitutional thin ice.
Yes, we need to save money. But the wheels of justice already turn too slowly. We better find other places to cut.