‘Free PACER’ Bill Advances Through Senate Judiciary Unanimously

The Senate Judiciary Committee today by voice vote advanced the Open Courts Act (S. 2614), a bill that would modernize the federal judiciary's case management system and -- finally -- make access to court filings free for all Americans. From a report: The bill was initially slated for discussion in committee last week, yet Chairman Durbin opted to postpone it for a week to allow for a handful of changes. Though advocates are cheering some and are not so keen on others, none of the amendments substantially alters the bill's impact or implementation, so strong support of the bill from Fix the Court, and, we believe, other leading nonprofit legal groups, remains. "There's no reason the American public should pay for public documents. The current cost to view or download a filing, ten cents per page, might not seem like a lot, but it quickly adds up and has been a barrier to access to justice for too long," FTC's Gabe Roth said. "The Open Courts Act fixes that, makes PACER free and modernizes the entire case management and filing system in a way that can make the judiciary's software a crown jewel and not an embarrassment."

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