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Editorial Reviews. From Library Journal. In a revised and substantially improved edition of his classic book, The Federal Courts: Crisis and Reform, Posner, .
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But a class action lawsuit, which seeks to recover what the plaintiffs say are overcharges, claims the profits far outweigh those costs.

Structural Reforms to the Federal Judiciary

One plaintiff in the suit, the National Veterans Legal Services Program, advocates on behalf of veterans, many of whom represent themselves. Two other nonprofits named as plaintiffs, the National Consumer Law Center and Alliance for Justice, identify trends and problems in the legal system by analyzing large numbers of cases to find patterns.

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Such cases can run hundreds of pages, making them prohibitively expensive, Gupta says. PACER offers a fee-waiver program, but implementation is spotty. In , the nonprofit Center for Investigative Reporting sought a four-month waiver to research "the effectiveness of the court's conflict-checking software and hardware to help federal judges identify situations requiring their recusal. Org , which is involved in several lawsuits to identify documents he claims should be freely available.

Malamud, who had long taken issue with PACER's pay-per-page system, urged open-government advocates to visit those libraries, download PACER documents, and share them in an online repository that anyone could access. The documents revealed scores of privacy violations, including the identities and social security numbers of Secret Service agents, and led to stricter privacy enforcement in the federal courts.

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Upgrading the database and website to improve usability and organization would cost money as well. And it is not at all unreasonable for the judiciary to want the latest technology deployed throughout the federal court system, which certainly could be underwritten by PACER fees if the law allowed it. No one denies this.

Federal Magistrates Court reforms: new name and expanded intellectual property jurisdiction

He'd like to see the lawsuit prompt policy changes. If the judicial system stops seeing PACER as a revenue stream for other things, perhaps it will have less incentive to maintain the paywall. Getty Images. Carl Malamud.

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  4. Criminal justice reform efforts sometimes seem improvisational. Scholars and activists have built a persuasive case that we need to reform the criminal justice system to reduce our reflexive dependency on mass incarceration and to root out bias against the poor, the mentally ill, and racial minorities.

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    We know that actions like revising sentencing laws and eliminating cash bail are steps in the right direction. And so advocates around the country have been using any tools in grabbing distance to achieve those results: legislation, ballot initiatives, administrative or judicial regulations, or direct political action. Strategic discussion of how to prioritize and harmonize those approaches, or how best to build momentum among the states, however, is frequently held behind closed doors when it is held at all.

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    4. Opportunistic arguments for reform can sound inconsistent and undertheorized. Reformers sometimes strike populist notes, arguing as the occasion demands that legislatures should yield to the will of the people when public opinion supports change, that legislatures should adopt enlightened policy regardless of public opinion, and that courts should invalidate the choices of legislatures.

      Federal Magistrates Court reforms: new name and expanded intellectual property jurisdiction

      The essay begins by commenting on the preconditions for successful criminal justice reform campaigns, and concludes by reconciling arguments for a populist criminal justice system with the counter-majoritarian role of the courts. The role the Constitution assigns to the people in the application of criminal justice system is to check governmental overreaching but not governmental leniency.

      It should be the role of the courts to check irrational or unfair criminal justice policy regardless of whether that policy commands popular support. While the federal courts have declined to play that role, state courts, not limited by the constraints of federalism, can and should become an important part of the solution to our broken criminal justice system. C rim.