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Supreme Court Developing Electronic Filing System
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Summary: The United States Supreme Court has announced that it will develop an electronic filing system, according to Chief Justice John Roberts. 

During his annual end-of-year report, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts announced that the court will develop an electronic filing system, according to The Associated Press.


It was the 10th such report for Roberts as chief justice and it centered around the wary embrace of the court to information technology. He blamed it on the court’s role to be neutral arbiters of the justice system for all.

The chief justice said, “courts will always be prudent whenever it comes to embracing the ‘next big thing.'”

To read more about the Supreme Court, click here.

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“The federal courts, including the Supreme Court, must often introduce new technologies at a more measured pace than other institutions, especially those in private industry,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote.

In his end-of-year letter, Roberts did not mention the use of cameras once. Cameras are banned from the courtroom.

The new electronic filing system could be operational as early as 2016, but parties in court cases will still be required to submit paper copies of all their briefs.

Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy is the outgoing chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Leahy said that the Supreme Court still must do more to allow the public to have access to the work performed by the justices.

“Not mentioned in his report, however, is the failure of the Supreme Court to allow even old technology, like photographs of the Supreme Court in session or live streaming of its oral arguments online,” Leahy said.

To read more about Chief Justice John Roberts, click here.

The new chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Republican Senator Chuck Grassley said, “In his year-end report, Chief Justice Roberts rightly promotes how the courts have embraced new technology. Unfortunately, though, the courts have yet to embrace the one technology that the founders would likely have advocated for — cameras in the courtroom. The founders intended for trials to be held in front of all people who wished to attend.”

In the past, Grassley has introduced legislation to permit cameras in federal courtrooms and said he will do so again.

The website for the court will allow the public free access to all court documents. Lawyers are required to submit 40 paper copies of every brief filed with the court and it is not known if that number will be reduced with the latest announcement.

To read more about Senator Chuck Grassley, click here.

Roberts also said that the rest of the federal judiciary, which already utilizes electronic filing, is working to develop a better system.

Will the paper filing requirements decrease with the new system? Use our poll to share your thoughts.

Will paper filings last much longer at the Supreme Court?

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