Joe Lieberman does something good: Urges judiciary to free PACER
Credit where credit is due: Sen. Joe Lieberman is using his power as chair of the Senate Oversight Committee to push the federal judiciary to stop charging users 8 cents per page to download federal court filings online.
In a letter sent last week, Lieberman asked why — when as of the end of 2006, the federal judiciary had a $150 million surplus in its technology fund — the judiciary continues to charge the public for documents. Last we checked — and we use PACER pretty much every day — it was 8 cents per page for most documents, a fee that can create quite a tally by the end of the month for journalists, lawyers and those twisted souls who read court filings in their spare time.
“While charging for access was initially required, Section 205(e) of the E-Government Act changed a provision of the Judicial Appropriation Act of 2002 (28 U.S.C. 1913) so that courts ‘may, to the extent necessary’ instead of ’shall’ charge fees ‘for access to information available through automatic data processing equipment,” Lieberman wrote. [WSJ Law Blog]
Go get 'em, Senator.