PACER Should Be Free Argues Paper

The Price of Ignorance: The Constitutional Cost of Fees for Access to Electronic Public Court Records

The NLJ adds,  the judiciary’s fee structure makes public records “practically inaccessible” for many people and inhibits constitutionally protected activities. “PACER should be free,” the article, posted on Aug. 29, concludes.

“Through this fee system, the judiciary collects fees at ever-increasing rates and uses much of the revenue for entirely other purposes—in an era in which the actual cost of storing and transmitting digital records asymptotically approaches zero,” Stephen Schultze, a Georgetown University Law Center third-year student, writes in the article.


In 2015, revenue from PACER—the widely used shorthand for Public Access to Court Electronic Records—was about $148 million, according to Financial Services and General Government Appropriations for 2017.

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