(UPDATED: This post was updated at 12:08 p.m. EDT on Thursday, August 3, to include the PIO’s press release about electronic filing.)
Late Friday evening the Supreme Court released a new version of its website (www.supremecourt.gov).
The court’s Public Information Office boasts that the site update includes “a more consistent menu structure, a more interactive calendar, faster access through Quick Links, improved page load times, and reduced page scrolling.” For example, instead of indicating only that the court will hear oral argument on a given day, the updated calendar provides case names for each argument day, with links to the docket entries and the questions at issue in each case.
The homepage also provides access to transcripts, audio and other case information. In a tweet, Orin Kerr suggested that a new case-citation system, which lists internet sources cited in opinions, represents “a good effort to fight linkrot.” In 2013, Jonathan Zittrain, Kendra Albert and Lawrence Lessig released results of a study indicating that half the links in Supreme Court opinions no longer work.
Judging from the Twitter reactions of multiple Supreme Court practitioners and commentators, the most appealing element of the update – what John Elwood called a “tantalizing glimpse” – may be the light at the end of this newly-opened tunnel. According to the PIO, “the improvements will better support future digitization and the addition of electronic filing, and will enhance mobile access to information on the site.”
These practitioners may only have to wait a few more months. On Thursday, August 3, the PIO announced that electronic filing will begin on November 13, 2017. The court will continue for now to require paper documents as the “official filing,” but parties represented by counsel will also be required to submit electronic versions. The electronic-filing requirement exempts parties appearing pro se, whose documents will be scanned by court personnel. According to the PIO, “[o]nce the system is in place, virtually all new filings will be accessible without cost to the public and legal community.” More information is available on the Supreme Court’s website.