The public's right to know what's happening in the courts, and the courts need for money to modernize the system and keep it running, are going to be an important ongoing public argument for years to come, SBM Blog suspects. That's what makes this case, In Re: Application For Exemption From Electronic Public Access Fees By Jennifer Gollan And Shane Shifflett, so interesting. The fees for users of the federal Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system are set by the Judicial Conference of the United States. Gollan and Shifflett, two journalists employed by a not-for-profit organization conducting a research project, applied for a waiver as authorized by the rules. The district court denied the waiver, and in June a 9th Circuit Court of Appeals panel dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction. One of the panel members, concurring, wrote:
I write individually to acknowledge “the elephant in the room”: to whom does one go for review when an application for an exemption from PACER fees has been denied?