The Chief Justice of the Iowa Supreme Court says Iowa would be on the brink of a “constitutional crisis” if the judicial branch is hit with more budget cuts next year.Justice Louis Lavorato warns there would be dire consequences if the court’s budget is cut too deeply. He says if the court can’t deliver its constitutional services, the court has the power to write a check. He says he doesn’t want to see that happen.Lavorato also defends his decision to junk a plan that would have closed clerk of court offices in many rural counties — his initial response to the need to cut the judicial branch budget this year. He says the idea of court service centers is dead as far as he is concerned.Lavorato says there are other ways to cut the budget. For example, some clerk of court offices may be restricted to part-time, and some court supervisors may lose their jobs. He says you can still have offices in all 99 counties without having 99 clerks of court. He says that cuts the size of the administrative staff.Lavorato warns there would be dire consequences if the court’s budget is cut too deeply. He says if the court can’t deliver constitutionally mandate services, the court has the power to order the state to pay money for the court costs.Lavorato made his comments today during taping of Iowa Public Television’s “Iowa Press” program which will air January 4th and 6th.
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