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Redesigning The Government: The U.S. Supreme Court


Introduction Image President Obama's nomination of Judge Sotomayor has brought increased attention to the U.S. Supreme Court. It also has led us to reexamine the Court's web site, which is long overdue for an overhaul. In its current form, its web design is suggestive of the 1990s, and its functionality is similarly dated. The Justices appear to agree. They've recently ask Congress for money to move control of the site in-house, taking over responsibility from the GPO. This move would allow them, in their words, to "better control and manage the web site and to be able to expand the data and services provided by the site more efficiently." The current web site has many shortcomings. It doesn't contain briefs by the parties and omits all but a few relatively recent Court opinions. Its navigation is a nightmare and its design fails to incorporate modern techniques such as RSS feeds and XML. Much information is unnecessarily locked in PDFs. And yet, in January 2009 the nine-year-old site received 18 million hits. To help the Court update its web presence, the Sunlight Foundation has put together the following mock-up. The most important aspect of the mock-up is that it takes into account the web site's diverse users. It accommodates the general public and students, legal researchers, court researchers, and litigants. Accordingly, we believe the redesigned web site must be simple, straightforward, and robust. It must strive to make the Court's proceedings transparent, incorporate modern design principles, and meet the higher expectations of today's web user. This post is the next in a series of government web site mock-ups that suggests how parts of the government should transform their online presence. Previous iterations have included:,,, and Under the fold, we have the mock-up and detailed descriptions of how the Supreme Court web site should be redesigned.

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