CHICAGO (CBS) — In a rare move, longtime Chief Judge Reuben Castillo is publicly voicing his frustrations. From his expansive 40th floor office, Reuben Castillo is speaking out for the federal workers who can’t about the injustice of furloughs and working without pay.
“The uncertainty and then there’s a feeling of betrayal, of sabotage,” he said. “It feels like we’re on the front lines of the justice system, and it feels like the people that are supposed to be supporting us back home are instead shooting us in the back. That’s how it really feels.”
Castillo is particularly distressed about federal agents working Chicago’s streets.
“In essence, especially in a city like this, we’re asking them to go out into the streets of Chicago, take drugs and guns off the streets, and we’re not paying them anymore. I think that’s very unfair,” he said.
At the Dirksen Federal Courthouse Friday’s paycheck will come as normal. The first February check was just guaranteed Tuesday.
“I think we will just barely be able to pay them,” Castillo said. “That’s the latest word. I will tell you, I will tell you, I just received an e-mail, literally minutes ago, telling me we will pay them for every day of service except one.”
But early next month, Castillo may have to consider putting civil cases on hold, and there may be no money to pay jurors, either.
“Those jurors are not going to be reimbursed for their travel to this court,” Castillo said. “I would hate for those distractions to get to a place where it affects the course of justice.”
And when federal workers rallied in Federal Plaza, they had a supporter 40 floors above.
“I’m a federal employee. I’ve been a prosecutor. I like to think of myself as a public servant, and I feel like other public servants shouldn’t be mistreated by their central government,” he said.
Judge Castillo vows the courts won’t shut down no matter what, but if money runs out, they’ll be depending on volunteer workers to keep them open.
Of the 800,000 government workers affected by the shutdown, they have lost on average $5,000 each since the shutdown began last month.