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Supreme Court Will Bypass PACER, Put Its Filings Online For Free

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts announced in his year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary that The Supreme Court is developing an “electronic filing system” similar to PACER, which, once made public in 2016, will make all filings at the Court available to the legal community and the public on the Court’s website and (unlike PACER) without fees. Filings include petitions and responses to petitions, merits briefs, and all other types of motions and applications.

The New York Times notes that:

Chief Justice Roberts did not explain why the Supreme Court chose to create its own system rather than adopt the existing one….

The court made modest improvements to its website in October, but it still directs users to a site maintained by the American Bar Association for copies of briefs in the roughly 70 cases it agrees to hear each year. [See link On-Line MERITS BRIEFS on Case Documents page.] It can be hard to find electronic copies of other materials, including, notably, the more than 7,000 petitions seeking review filed each year.
[Supreme Court, in Big Leap, Plans to Put Filings Online, By Adam Liptak, New York Times (Dec. 31, 2014).]

The Chief Justice noted that:

The judiciary has a special duty to ensure, as a fundamental matter of equal access to justice, that its case filing process is readily accessible to the entire population, from the most tech-savvy to the most tech-intimidated.

For background on PACER, see: PACER and EDGAR.

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