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Judge denies requests for pay from workers affected by shutdown

A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request from a federal employees union to require the government to pay ...

Posted: Jan 15, 2019 7:47 PM
Updated: Jan 15, 2019 7:47 PM

A federal judge on Tuesday denied a request from a federal employees union to require the government to pay air traffic controllers who are currently working without pay during the partial government shutdown.

The temporary restraining order was requested by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association.

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District Judge Richard Leon also denied two requests for temporary restraining orders regarding whether federal employees who are deemed essential and required to work without pay during the shutdown should be forced to work.

  • The National Treasury Employees Union argued that requiring essential employees to work without pay violates the Antideficiency Act, part of the US Code. The union requested a temporary restraining order that would effectively allow essential employees not to be forced to work without pay during the shutdown.

  • The second temporary restraining order, requested by individual federal workers in a separate suit, asked that federal employees deemed essential be given the choice of whether to show up to work, so they could take extra work to cover expenses if needed.

But Leon argued that Congress is the only branch of government that has the constitutional power to appropriate funds, and that the judiciary "is not and cannot be another source of leverage."

"We are an independent and coequal branch of government even if we can't keep our lights on," Leon said in court.

Leon denied all three temporary restraining orders but set a schedule for hearings regarding preliminary injunctions requested by all three suits, so while attorneys for federal employees did not win on Tuesday, they will have another chance to argue their cases before the judge. Oral arguments are scheduled for the end of the month.

The US District Court for the District of Columbia, however, is a federal court funded by the government. Federal court offices operating with fees and other reserve funds are set to run out of money on Friday because of the shutdown, according to National Law Journal.

For a judge to grant a temporary restraining order, the plaintiffs must show they are likely to suffer irreparable harm if it is not granted.

While Leon acknowledged that he did not "have any doubt that there is hardship being felt," he also said allowing employees deemed essential by the executive branch not to come to work would "at best create chaos and confusion" and at worst be "catastrophic."

This story has been updated.

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3074812

Reported Deaths: 35060
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles103873814416
San Bernardino2569141560
Riverside2510002676
San Diego2185552174
Orange2165092508
Santa Clara949051129
Kern87240572
Fresno83200968
Sacramento811831128
Alameda68649788
Ventura62774462
San Joaquin58843788
Contra Costa53349460
Stanislaus43121766
Tulare42186515
Monterey36464255
San Mateo32887309
San Francisco29502266
Solano25983107
Santa Barbara25405243
Imperial25333474
Merced24570316
Sonoma24184242
Kings19588148
Placer17490184
San Luis Obispo16056140
Madera13528151
Santa Cruz12461113
Marin11732159
Yolo10789138
Shasta9750123
Butte9528128
El Dorado788649
Sutter782879
Napa767244
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San Benito500346
Yuba499627
Tehama433244
Tuolumne340340
Nevada323474
Mendocino319232
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Lake262531
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Glenn194820
Colusa17969
Calaveras162123
Siskiyou145713
Mono11244
Inyo98329
Del Norte8672
Plumas5895
Modoc3853
Mariposa3464
Trinity3044
Sierra820
Alpine730
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We'll be staying dry today, but clouds will be increasing. Temperatures will be cooler today. We'll have even cooler temperatures, rain, and snow on the way in your Friday forecast. Heavier rain and snow are projected late this weekend and next week.
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