A Worthy Bill of Note: The Open PACER Act of 2013

“To provide the public with open access to electronic federal court records.”

Please see here for more information, including by way of some explanation:

The Open PACER Act provides for free and open access to electronic federal court records. The courts currently offer an expensive and difficult-to-use web site. They charge more than their cost of offering the service—more than Congress has authorized—violating the E-Government Act of 2002. This [proposed] Act seeks to, once and for all, compel the courts to fulfill Congress‘ longstanding vision of making this information “freely available to the greatest extent possible.”


PACER was designed before the turn of the [21st] century, and hasn’t been updated much. It is difficult to search, confusing to use, and is not indexed by search engines like Google. The biggest problem is that it charges for access. Every time you search, view a docket report, or download a document, you pay. These little charges add up quickly and make it impossible to do large-scale searching or analysis. This is bad for democracy.

Cross-posted on Legal Research Plus.