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Judge Tunheim in Defense of PACER

U.S. District Judge John R. Tunheim has written a thoughtful piece about PACER for The National Law Journal. Tunheim has been closely involved with PACER as longtime member and chair of the Judicial Conference's Court Admini­stration and Case Management Committee.

In the article, the judge responds to recent questions and criticism's about PACER's fee structure, functionality and privacy protections. Although I encourage you to read the full article, his conclusion offers a summary of his views:

The infrastructure to provide a secure network for all federal court documents is costly. Those costs are borne by PACER's users, not by all taxpayers. Without a stable revenue base there would be no system, as the countless failed attempts to offer public access in other court systems have demonstrated. The bottom line is that, although PACER can and will improve, it already is a safe and vibrant system that makes federal court documents the most readily available in the world.

Hat tip to my law library colleague, Marc Weinberger of the U.S. Courts Library Western District of Wisconsin.