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SCOTUS Website Makeover and E-Filing

Late on Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court launched its revamped website.  Fortunately, the horrible red background on some of the pages was removed even faster than Mr. Scaramucci.  The big news is the upcoming launch of electronic filing:

The Supreme Court's new electronic filing system will begin operation on November 13, 2017. A quick link on the Court's website homepage will provide access to the new system, developed in-house to provide prompt and easy access to case documents. Once the system is in place, virtually all new filings will be accessible without cost to the public and legal community.
That last part is very good news.  In the lower federal courts, public documents are available only by payment of a fee that has little relation to the cost of providing the service.  On a per-page basis the fee may not seem like much, but it adds up for a small non-profit that needs and uses the system extensively.

The good part about the lower federal courts' e-filing system is that if you e-file a PDF of your brief on the due date then the deadline is met.  The paper copies can be printed and mailed in due course.  The Supreme Court's current requirement that paper copies be mailed by the due date effectively backs up the deadline a few business days, particularly since they have to be printed in the high court's odd little booklet size.

I rarely recommend that the Supreme Court follow the Ninth Circuit.  Quite the contrary, the Conclusion section of my SCOTUS briefs quite often reads, "The decision of the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit should be reversed."  When it comes to e-filing, though, the Ninth does it right, and the Supreme Court would do well to consider its template.

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