Murkowski Statement on Potential Courthouse Closings

Senator Sends Letter Questioning Reasoning Behind Government Closure List

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today responded to the federal government’s consideration of closing the Fairbanks, Ketchikan and Juneau courthouses.  The three are on a master list of 60 courthouses in 29 states released by the government seeking cuts – thereby requiring all Alaskans involved with federal proceedings to fly to Anchorage.

“Each federal courthouse location in America is reevaluated every two years, and that is a responsible, commendable policy for a government looking for efficiencies.  But this is one case where sometimes geography trumps economics.

“I can see why a few courthouses in an average-sized state can be reconsidered and possibly eliminated for cost.  But Alaska is one-fifth the size of the entire country and sixty percent of our land is owned by the federal government, so leaving us with one active courthouse doesn’t add up.

“But it’s penny-wise, pound-foolish to remove three out of our four active courthouses and ask all Alaskans to travel to Anchorage for legal proceedings.

“The saying goes that ‘Justice delayed is justice denied.’ But it also shouldn’t have to be delivered over a thousand miles.”

(Senator Murkowski’s letter to the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. District Court of Alaska is attached)