6 federal courthouses in South to close
WASHINGTON (AP) — The federal judiciary said Tuesday it will close six courthouses in the South because of inadequate funding from Congress and the prospect of more drastic cuts.
The courthouses to be closed are in Gadsen, Ala.; Pikeville, Ky.; Meridian, Miss.; Wilkesboro, N.C.; Beaufort, S.C.; and Amarillo, Texas, the Judicial Conference said.
The closures are expected to save $1 million a year in rent. The judiciary said it could see its budget cut by more than $500 million if Congress fails to reach a budget deal and automatic across-the-board spending cuts kick in next year.
None of the facilities to be closed has a judge who is based there. Instead, judges travel from larger cities as needed.
They were chosen from among 60 courthouses in 29 states. There are 674 federal courthouses around the country.
The closings were ordered by the Judicial Conference of the United States, a group of 27 judges led by Chief Justice John Roberts that sets policy for the federal courts. The group met Tuesday at the Supreme Court.
The facilities will close over the next several years.
The Beaufort facility was ranked first and the Meridian facility fifth on a list of courthouses being considered for closing, according to documents obtained by The Associated Press in March. But the other four ranked no higher than 22nd, and there was no immediate explanation for how facilities were chosen.