E-filing system at Supreme Court will make new filings accessible for free
By Debra Cassens Weiss
Posted August 3, 2017
The U.S. Supreme Court announced Thursday that it is adopting an electronic filing system beginning Nov. 13.
The system will make "virtually all new filings" available to the public at no cost, the Supreme Court said in its announcement. The National Law Journal (sub. req.) has a story.
Initially, official filing of documents will continue to be on paper, but parties represented by lawyers will also have to submit electronic versions. Those without lawyers will have their documents scanned by court personnel and made available to the public.
The announcement follows the rollout of the Supreme Court’s redesigned website on July 28. Helpful changes include information about cases being argued on particular days and etiquette information for court visitors, according to a previous National Law Journal story (sub. req.).
Fix The Court, a Supreme Court transparency advocate, reacted to the electronic filing announcement in a statement: "Most federal appeals courts have required electronic filing for years, so I’m pleased the Supreme Court has finally joined its institutional counterparts by implementing this policy," executive director Gabe Roth said.
Roth also said he hopes the change will lead to other improvements, such as live audio for oral arguments and a software-based conflict check system. Read online
Bush v. Gore was an example of national importance, Gonzales v. Raich was a case in which a lower court invalidated federal law, and Obergefell v. Hodges was selected by the Court in order to resolve a circuit split decision. By following this protocol of case selection, the Court has been designed to be reactive to legislative decisions made in other branches of government, as opposed to an active legislative body that seeks to create and institute new laws. Overall, the result of this design is a Court that prioritizes case selections that will enable them to enforce the uniformity of federal law throughout the country.