Aiken County’s federal courthouse will remain as an arm of the District Court, despite being short-listed for closure.
As part of budget cuts, the Judicial Conference of the United States examined the usefulness and cost efficiency of many local federal courts. Aiken’s court house will remain, but several other courthouses are to close, including one in South Carolina.
The court in Beaufort will be closed in 2014, at the end of its lease term. Shedding costly building leases was the motive behind the office closings.
According to the JCUS, the court facilities to be closed each contain a courtroom, but has no full-time resident federal judge. In determining whether a facility should be closed, consideration was given to the usage of the court space, location, condition and operating costs. Release of the court space in the facilities will save the Judiciary a total of about $1 million a year in rent costs, the release stated.
“The (JCUS) agreed to close six non-resident federal court facilities, the latest in a series of cost-cutting measures implemented by the federal Judiciary’s national policy-making body,” the Conference said via a press release.
The JCUS is an office of Senior Circuit Judges created by Congress in 1922 to serve as the principal policy-making body concerned with the administration of the U.S. Courts.
“Cost containment, a Judiciary-wide initiative dating back to 2004, has resulted in a close examination of nearly every Judiciary function and activity to determine if it is necessary, and if so, how it can be done more efficiently and at less cost,” the JCUS release stated.
Other courts closing are in Wilkesboro, N.C.; Meridian, Miss.; Amarillo, Texas; Pikeville, Ky. and Gadsden, Ala.