Media groups put excessive PACER fees on trial

A legal challenge is underway to gain better access to federal court records, calling fees charged by PACER, the federal courts’ electronic docket system, excessive. Former Senator Joe Lieberman argued that PACER fees made it difficult for all members of the public to obtain records. And news outlets said they could not afford the fees in times of declining revenues for the news industry. A group of former federal judges argued that there should be no PACER fees at all given the importance of access. They said that ending fees would honor the courts’ tradition of free access to the courtroom. (The New Republic, January 31, 2019, by Matt Ford)

A media coalition supported the challenge observing that the PACER fees were not authorized by law and were used to finance activities not related to disseminating court records. (Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, January 30, 2019, by Anna Gutierrez Bahn)

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