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Category Archives: Courts

AALL Calls on Congress to Improve Access to Electronic Records of Federal Court System

“The American Association of Law Libraries (AALL) is advocating for the passage of the Electronic Court Records Reform Act, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives today by House Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Doug Collins (R-Ga.) and Congressman Mike Quigley (D-Ill.), chair of the Congressional Transparency Caucus. This legislation would, for the first time, allow free access to electronic federal court records through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system and improve the efficiency and transparency of the courts. AALL coordinated a letter signed by 15 other organizations—including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Data Coalition, and the Project on Government Oversight—urging passage of the bill. “Access to the law, and information about the law, is the cornerstone of any democracy. The American Association of Law Libraries has long advocated for no-fee access to federal court records through PACER,and the Electronic Court Records Reform Act would finally make that vision a reality,” said Femi Cadmus,president of AALL. “Eliminating PACER fees will improve transparency of the courts and allow law libraries to preserve and provide access to court records.

We urge Congress to enact this legislation.”The Electronic Court Records Reform Act would: Consolidate the case management/electronic case files system and require all documents in the system be searchable, machine-readable and available to the public and to parties before the court free of charge; Protect private information, requiring the courts to redact any information prohibited from public disclosure…”

New Electronic Edition of Federal Administrative Procedure Sourcebook

“ACUS is pleased to announce the launch of the continuously-updated electronic edition of the Federal Administrative Procedure Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is a joint initiative with the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association, which published the most recent editions of the Sourcebook. The Sourcebook is an annotated compilation of the… Continue Reading

Attacking a Pay Wall That Hides Public Court Filings

The New York Times: “The federal judiciary has built an imposing pay wall around its court filings, charging a preposterous 10 cents a page for electronic access to what are meant to be public records. A pending lawsuit could help tear that wall down. The costs of storing and transmitting data have plunged, approaching zero.… Continue Reading

One Lawyer, One Day, 194 Felony Cases

The New York Times – “High-level felonies carry sentences of 10 years or more and should each get 70 hours of legal attention, according to a workload study. For Mr. Talaska, that’s more than two years of full-time work. Mid-level felonies require 41 hours each.A few of Mr. Talaska’s clients faced life without parole. Such… Continue Reading

Court’s Biometrics Ruling Poses Billion Dollar Risk to Facebook, Google

Fortune: “The Supreme Court of Illinois on Friday ruled that an amusement park, Six Flags Great America, must pay damages to a boy for collecting his thumbprint without proper consent. The decision in the closely-watched case opens the door for the possibility of huge payouts in related cases against technology companies whose face-scanning policies breached… Continue Reading

Sourcebook of United States Executive Agencies (Second Edition)

Administrative Conference of the United States: “…The purpose of this volume is to make government work better, which is the overall mission of the Conference. For agency general counsels, congressional staff, executive officials, and members of the judiciary, this is the place to broaden understanding of how agencies are organized. For those involved in reorganization… Continue Reading

Oracle v. Google and the future of software development

The Verge: “After years of back-and-forth legal rulings, Google is asking the Supreme Court to make the final call in its infamous dispute with Oracle. Today, the company announced it has filed a petition with the Court, asking the justices to determine the boundaries of copyright law in code. The case dates back to 2010,… Continue Reading

Impact of Partial Federal Gov’t Shutdown on Legal Information

AALL: “As of midnight December 21, 2018, the President and Congress were unable to agree on the provisions of a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the federal government. As a result, a partial shutdown of some government operations now enters its fourth week. This is a politically dynamic event, and AALL continues to monitor federal… Continue Reading

Shutdown: Dot-gov websites vulnerable to cyberattacks, certificates expiring amid funding pause

Netcraft – .gov security falters during U.S. shutdown: “Dozens of U.S. government websites have been rendered either insecure or inaccessible during the ongoing U.S. federal shutdown. These sites include sensitive government payment portals and remote access services, affecting the likes of NASA, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the Court of Appeals.  With around 400,000… Continue Reading

Court Strikes Down Iowa’s ‘Ag-Gag’ Law That Blocked Undercover Investigations

NPR – “A federal judge in Iowa says it’s no longer a crime to go undercover at factory farms, slaughterhouses and any other ag-related operations. The 2012 law was a clear violation of the First Amendment, the judge said. The Animal Legal Defense Fund, one of the plaintiffs in the case, called the ruling “a… Continue Reading

Patricia Wald, First Woman to Preside Over D.C. Appeals Court, Dies at 90

The New York Times: “Patricia M. Wald, who was the first woman to serve as chief judge of the federal appeals court in Washington and who later wrote seminal rulings while serving in The Hague on the international court for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, died on Saturday at her home in Washington. She… Continue Reading

White House legal team prepares aggressive defense of Trump’s executive privilege

Washington Post – “A beefed-up White House legal team is gearing up to prevent President Trump’s confidential discussions with top advisers from being disclosed to House Democratic investigators and revealed in the special counsel’s long-awaited report, setting the stage for a potential clash between the branches of government. The strategy to strongly assert the president’s… Continue Reading