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The Other Trouble Along the Border By: Marion Edwyn Harrison, Esq.
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The media reports extensively about troubles within areas rather proximate to the south and north of the Mexican Border.  Far less is reported about risks to and burdens upon the federal judiciary. United States District Courts sit, west to east,  in San Diego and El Centro, California; Yuma and Tucson, Arizona; Las Cruces, New Mexico; El Paso, Alpine, Pecos, Del Rio, Laredo, McAllen, Brownsville and Corpus Christi, Texas.

That there is considerable violence, drug warfare and otherwise, south of and at the Border, directly and indirectly affecting border security is publicized. There has been little publicity about overly crowded dockets in federal courts impacted by border trouble. There has been little, if any, publicity about the risk of personal security to United States Judges, federal judicial personnel, United States Marshals, counsel, litigants, jurors,  and others having business in these tribunals.

In fact, the security risk has grown to the stage that the Judicial Security Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States has had to organize a briefing in the nature of a seminar for federal judges and others. The Judicial Security Committee is developing a security plan.

Security costs money. Further, the volume of criminal litigation, often referred to as “caseload,” in many Federal courts, and in all those near the Border, has risen - drug, immigration, weapons and related cases. Enhanced caseload also costs money.

The United States Marshals Service estimates only a portion of the immediate need, principally the handling of prisoners, is more than $32 million. The immediate need for additional staffing of judges and judicial personnel is estimated at another $10 million. Another $4 million of immediacy is estimated for security. The sum of $46 million is unprecedented for so few courthouse operations and such urgency.

Nevertheless it is a relative pittance in context of the Barack H. Obama administration and the 111th Congress, which have reached historic excess in billions and trillions of so-called stimulus. The urgency is undeniable. The severity of troubles arising from “south of the border, down Mexico way” is not only undeniable but in dire need of broad and sweeping attention.

Marion Edwyn Harrison is President of, and Counsel to, the Free Congress Foundation.

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