On Monday, Princeton’s Steve Schultze argued for the right of all Americans to access federal court records online at no charge. He made these remarks not only because he believes it is fundamental to a democracy that the people know what their government is doing, but also because he came to understand that his friend Aaron Swartz was harassed by the government for his efforts to ensure that all Americans can exercise this right.
As Steve explains, all federal court records are available online — behind a paywall, on court-run PACER — that unlawfully overcharges the public for access and subverts the reason and rationale for its existence. He believes court records should be free for the public to access.
Steve is looking for Congress to act by considering this legislation, which provides for free and open access to court records. He is looking for bill sponsors, and asks that you call your elected representatives.
Steve gave this talk as part of a series of 3-minute lightning talks on transparency hosted on Capitol Hill on Monday by the Advisory Committee on Transparency, a project of the Sunlight Foundation that brings together organizations from across the political spectrum that believe in a more open government.
Update: link to Reddit where a conversation on this is emerging.
Additional Update: To clarify that Steve is asking for comments on the legislation and legislative action, and that the Sunlight Foundation is sharing video of speakers from its recent ACT event without necessarily endorsing their views.