I missed commenting about this when it was announced last week. Looks like former AALL Government Relations representative, Mary Alice Baish, is hard at work at her new post and is working to pilot the release of Federal Court decisions via FDsys.gov. This should prove to be a much better format than the PACER system that served as a poor interface for Federal Court decisions in the past.
I look forward to testing this out and have high hopes that placing the decisions on the FDsys platform is the start of moving more primary federal law into a resource that anyone can access. Here’s the press release from last week:
WASHINGTON—The U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the Federal Judiciary are launching a oneyear pilot program providing free public access to court opinions through GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys). The joint project was approved by the Judicial Conference of the United States and GPO’s Congressional oversight committee, the Joint Committee on Printing. When fully implemented, the pilot will include up to 42 courts. The Judiciary continually has sought ways to enhance public access to court opinions. Free access to opinions in all Federal courts is currently available via the Judiciary’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records service (PACER). Building on that success, staff from the Administrative Office of the United States Courts met with GPO management to explore making opinions available through FDsys, which can provide the public with a robust search engine that can search common threads across opinions and courts. The public will be able to access court opinions in the next several months through GPO’s Federal Digital System: www.fdsys.gov
“GPO’s partnership with the Federal Judiciary on this pilot program is another example of how the agency is becoming the digital information platform for the entire Federal Government,” said Superintendent of Documents Mary Alice Baish. “We are excited to add these important court opinions to our digital repository, providing the public with quick and easy access to the workings of the Federal Judiciary.”
The twelve participating pilot courts are the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Eighth Circuits; the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Minnesota, Rhode Island, Maryland, Idaho and Kansas, the Northern District of New York, and the Northern District of Alabama; and the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts for the District of Maine, the Southern District of Florida, and the Southern District of New York.
With 2,200 employees, GPO is the Federal Government’s primary resource for producing, procuring, cataloging, indexing, authenticating, disseminating, and preserving the official information products of the U.S. Government in digital and tangible forms. GPO is responsible for the production and distribution of information products and services for all three branches of the Federal Government, including U.S. passports for the Department of State as well as the official publications of Congress, the White House, and other Federal agencies. In addition to publication sales, GPO provides for permanent public access to Federal Government information at no charge through GPO’s Federal Digital System (www.fdsys.gov) and through partnerships with approximately 1,220 libraries nationwide participating in the Federal Depository Library Program. For more information, please visit www.gpo.gov. Follow GPO on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/USGPO
Twitter http://twitter.com/USGPO and on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/gpoprinter.