Two items from Peter Suber’s Open Access News give an important reminder that friends of greater access to government information can come from anywhere:
The first item notes Senator Lieberman’s call for action on S Res 401, which would post all unclassified Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports in a public database. Although this would simply do for CRS what is already done for the General Accountability Office (GAO), S Res 401 has seen no action since Senator Lieberman introduced it on December 11, 2007.
The second item notes the gratitude of the American Association of Law Libraries for Justice Roberts action in permitting free trial access to the PACER database at selected Federal Depository Libraries. Free public access to PACER, which provides electronic access to U.S. District, Bankruptcy, and Appellate court records has been a longstanding goal of the depository and law library communities. As I understand it, before Chief Justice Roberts, the Supreme Court was unwilling to consider free access on any level.
While it is tempting in these troubled times to assume that one party stands firmly for restricted access in all cases and the other party stands for full transparency, that’s not true. In all cases we information advocates should be seeking out and working with whomever is in favor of greater transparency on a case by case basis.