Nat’l Veterans Legal Servs. Program v. United States (Federal Circuit)
Update: A federal appeals court ruled on Aug. 6, 2020, that the federal judiciary is overcharging for public access to online court records.
The Reporters Committee and 27 media organizations filed an amicus brief in support of appellants in National Veterans Legal Services Program v. United States, a case before the Federal Circuit regarding fees imposed by the government for access to electronic court documents through the Public Access to Court Electronic Records system (PACER). The district court held that the government’s use of PACER fees to fund certain activities was unauthorized by statute, but allowed other uses of the fees for activities unrelated to to the dissemination of court records. RCFP’s amicus brief argues that reporters rely on court documents to inform the public, and any fees beyond the cost of dissemination are not authorized by the statute, burden the press, and are contrary to First Amendment values.