Federal Courts to Expand Access to Online Opinions through Government Printing Office

September 11th, 2012

In addition to the FJC’s decision to shut down several underused federal courthouses, the courts announced that they will expand access to a program, currently in pilot form, that makes opinions available to the public.

Approved the national implementation of a program to provide access to court opinions through the Government Printing Office’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). Nearly thirty federal courts currently participate in the pilot. The system provides free on-line access to official publications from all three branches of government and allows users to search, browse, and download content.

This is an excellent development.

In addition, to cut costs, the courts will stop mailing out paper copies of opinions (a wise move–no one actually reads them).

Eliminated funding to print and mail court of appeals slip opinions ­– court opinions issued prior to formal publication in case reporters. This will achieve an annual savings of more than $1 million in printing and mailing costs. Courts may instead provide electronic copies of slip opinions.