No more secret laws

Ars Technica has a great piece on an effort to bring America’s legal standard to the standard that Athens had thousands of years ago: allow individuals to know the laws that government their behavior.

The case against PACER: tearing down the courts’ paywall – Ars Technica
If you want to find out how the Obama administration is spending the stimulus money, you can go to recovery.gov for detailed spending data. Many executive branch agencies provide information about their activities via the government’s regulations.gov portal. And the Library of Congress has the Thomas system, which gives the public free, searchable access to information about the activities of the legislative branch. But the judicial branch is a conspicuous laggard when it comes to making public documents available online. Theoretically, public access to federal court records is provided by a Web-based system called PACER. Unfortunately, PACER locks public documents behind a paywall, lacks a reasonable search engine, and has an interface that’s inscrutable to non-lawyers.

Let’s hope Barack Obama makes ending secret laws a priority!