From NBC's Pete Williams
Assuming it doesn't last very long, a government shutdown would not have much effect on the federal courts.
The U.S. Supreme Court would likely go on about its business, much as it did during the last federal shutdown. Back then, a court official says, the justices and the court staff continued coming to work, and the court remained open to visitors.
The rest of the federal judiciary -- the trial and appeals courts -- have enough money to keep going for 10 days, or two work weeks, says a spokesman for the administrative Office of the U.S. courts.
"Once that funding is exhausted, however, the federal court system faces serious disruptions," the spokesman says. "Following their own contingency plans, federal courts would limit operation to essential activities." That court mean that some jury trials would be postponed.