Questioning the Federal Circuit’s Reduced Flow of Information

by Dennis Crouch

In a letter mailed on April 7, 2015, I joined with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in calling on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to re-institute free public access to orders issued by the court.

Following former Chief Judge Rader’s resignation in 2014, the Federal Circuit stopped providing free public access the the vast majority of court orders.  These orders are still accessible through PACER, but that system is difficult and costly to use.

Although the court’s most substantive work is usually found in published opinions. Court orders can be substantive and important and the letter provides a few examples:

For example, an order involving ongoing royalties in cases involving Apple and VirnetX was not chosen for publication on the site, despite the high interest in the proceedings the case has generated, and the impact the order could have on the publicly traded companies. Another order barred Facebook from asserting invalidity defenses on appeal for procedural reasons – a matter of public interest because it could educate litigants about how to preserve issues on appeal, and because Facebook is a public company. Even in cases where the Court seeks public participation, it has not chosen to put relevant orders up on its website for public access. On December 30, the Court granted a petition for en banc rehearing of SCA Hygiene Products v. First Quality Baby Products, No. 2013-1564, announcing on its website that it invited amicus curiae briefs in the case. Rather than posting the order on its website, the Court instead directed interested parties to view the order on PACER. Because the case is sufficiently important to merit an announcement on the Court’s website, it was dismaying that the order was not selected for public access on the website.

The change that we propose is simple and fully within the Court’s power — we know this because the court was previously providing free public access to these documents as standard operating procedure.  My hope is that the Court will hear our respectful requests and make this appropriate change.

Michael Barclay and Vera Ranieri from EFF have also written on the topic in the EFF Deep Links Blog.

88 thoughts on “Questioning the Federal Circuit’s Reduced Flow of Information

  1. 9

    Something still smells in Aspen:

    Oplus Trolling, Ltd. v. Vizio/Sears (Fed Cir; April 10, 2015) “precedential”

    Prost, Moore, O’Malley

    Held (Moore): Judge Pfaelzer abused discretion in denying attorney fees for exceedingly poor behavior by the Niro firm.

    After detailing the serious misconduct and concluding that the case was exceptional, the explanation the court gave for denying fees was that the “case has been fraught with delays and avoidance tactics to some degree on both sides.” Id. at 16. The court did not specify the delays or tactics and, at oral argument, counsel for Oplus was unable to articulate delays that were substantiated in the record, let alone actions that would warrant the court’s denial….

    Oplus argues fees are not warranted because Vizio did not promptly move for summary judgment. We see no unusual delay in this record. That Vizio did not move for summary judgment at the outset of litigation does not absolve counsel’s uncontested litigation misconduct nor could it justify refusal to award fees after summary judgment was filed.

    Presumably this is the same Judge Pfaelzer who has been extending a glad hand to other patentees wielding computer-implemented junk.

      1. 9.1.1

        I’m reminded of your nutsanity from the previous thread on this case where you refused to acknowledge that Niro is a bottom-feeding t00l.


          NOT Indulging your tangents is never “nutsanity.”

          Maybe you should try sticking to the actual LEGAL topics…

  2. 8

    Automated Merchandising Systems v. Lee

    AMS has four patents in re-exam, put there after a challenge requested by a defendant, Crane Co, that was sued by AMS. A consent judgment was entered in their patent lawsuit, dismissing the infringement suit and stipulating that the patents were valid. The PTO denied AMS’ request to terminate the re-examinations and AMS filed a suit in district court alleging violation of the APA, 5 USC Sect. 104. The district court refused to stop the PTO proceedings.

    Federal Circuit: The refusal to stop the re-examinations is not a “final agency action” under the APA, 5 U.S.C. § 704. If the patents are invalidated on re-exam, that’s the proper time to appeal.

    Sample patent at issue: 6,384,402, where the innovation is (apparently) the use, in a vending machine, of a “broad plane” of electromagnetic radiation instead of the narrower beams in the prior art to detect a successful vending event.


          one comment: de novo review in and of itself does not save the constitutionality of IPR. where the claim of patent validity is a private right, no admin agency can rule upon it with finality – irrespective of de novo review. instead, that agency can merely issue an advisory opinion where operating beyond the role as a true fact-finding adjunct. you seem to gloss over this.


            no, I think that was a question reserved by the Supreme Court in Executive Benefits. See its fn. 4. The question goes no to “finality” but to lack of consent to the forum in the first place. That whole question is reserved.

            Thus, even if Congress provided de novo review it may not be enough unless the only avenue to a final decision was through an Art. III court when the private right holder did not consent.

            Paul Morgan, pay attention. Mr. No knows what he is talking about.


              consent is a non-factor in the art III pub rights analysis. perhaps your case changes that.

              seems to me that you as well as the Cooper / echarge guys are attempting to confront IPR while simultaneously sparing reexamination under Paltex. saps the power of your punches, IMHO. parsing reexam from IPR where underlying claim is patent validity in either scenario is logically disingenuous, and the gov will raise it.

                1. my point is more nuanced – you can conclude that patlex is overruled, and that patent validity – as a claim – is a private right, but without simultaneously acknowledging the ramifications for reexamination, some of your intellectual credibility is sacrificed.

                  it seemed to me you were attempting to walk this line with the discussion of de novo. I believe Cooper / eCharge attempted a similar distinction.

                2. Dr. no, the District Court in Patlex upheld the constitutionality of re-examinations because of the availability of de novo review. Removing the public rights crutch does not necessarily invalidate reexaminations.

                  However, if reexaminations are not saved by the right of de novo review (repealed by the AIA), they are unconstitutional just as much as IPRs. McCormick Harvesting held that the patent office may not revoke or cancel a patent for any reason including government mistake. They must sue in court provided they have standing.

                  The bottom line, we do not defend the constitutionality of re-examinations outside the context of de novo review.

                3. I am not familiar with any SCOTUS public rights rule of law cases establishing that (1) an admin officer may (2) rule on a common law / equitable / admiralty claim with finality, provided that (3) that resolved claim may be reviewed by an Art III court de novo.

                  instead, the SCOTUS has previously established that (1) an admin officer may (2) offer an non-binding advisory opinion on a common law / equitable / admiralty claim that is then (3) reviewed de novo.

                  an admin officer may only resolve issues related to her role as a fact finding adjunct. even then, de novo review is required.


                Re: consent.

                The voluntary choice of forum where the court remedy was available was critical in Schor. I have previously given you the quote from Stern v. Marshall.

                1. schor did not establish consent as a means for addressing art III defects. though J. O’Connor mentioned that consent was one factor a court may consider when conducting its analysis, she also expressly noted: “when these Article III safeguard limitations are at issue, notions of consent and waiver cannot be dispositive because the limitations serve institutional interests that the parties cannot be expected to protect.” p. 851.

                  in any event, schor is somewhat of a lame duck case for reasons I have pointed out previously.

                  Stern was the closest thus far to ratify consent / waiver – however, there, only 4 of the 9 approved it.


                Dr. No: ref. your post at 11:40 AM.

                I agree. The SC has not gone that far.

                But, consider an interference between a patent application and a patent. The patent can be revoked. But there is a right of de novo review.

                I think the Supreme Court will look at this longstanding procedure with some respect.

                1. You raise an interesting point – in the past, certain Justices have observed in dicta that “historical practices to the contrary” may permit resolution of a claim by the art I officer. However, that mode of reasoning has not received approval by the SCOTUS. Instead, the question is whether the claim at issue has an antecedent existing either at law or equity. This remains the public rights rule of law.

                  Reexam will go the way that IPR goes. They will likely live or die (in their current form) together.

                  I have been disappointed to see that the USPTO has been unable to present a coherent defense thus far. It is clear that AIA IPR was enacted without the benefit of a sep of powers due diligence. They are now scrambling to find what sticks.

                  Maybe too big to fail will save them; maybe it won’t.

                2. No, you and I see it the same way about the government’s legal argument.

                  And, just look whose on the brief for the government? The DOJ, including some of their very best and brightest — the same people who have been writing the briefs in the recent patent cases at the Supreme Court.

                  As to the crafters of IPRs, I think they just assumed there was no problem with constitutionality. The AIA became law in Sept. 2011. Stern v. Marshall came down June 23, 2011. There was no time to rethink IPRs, even if someone were paying attention. If there was a review over at the DOJ, it may have occurred prior to Stern v. Marshall.

                  On a going forward basis, it might be best to file IPRs in court, with a special referral to the PTO if trial is declared for their findings of fact and conclusions of law, or a special master’s report depending. The court can then determine whether any facts are disputed, and order a trial de novo if necessary — and to a jury if requested.

                  Congress might even set up a special court in DC for IPRs with limited jurisdiction — so as to eliminate counterclaims for infringement. In this way, we would get PTO expertise, if we still think that necessary in a revamp, plus expedited, low cost, validity trials.

                3. And, Dr. No., do you think you yourself could have come up with something better than the DOJ?

                4. The gov is in a difficult position, and I don’t envy them. They are tasked with attempting to explain how an antecedent claim with centuries of history at law or equity qualifies as a public right. Unless the law changes at the highest level, they have very little wiggle room.

                  What primarily disappoints me is their lack of coherent vision for the defense. The gov came out of the gates very aggressively in the Cooper / eCharge dispute, primarily premising its defense on Schor. Cooper / eCharge however, handled those arguments easily, and the gov has been scrambling ever since (in its final reply brief, it raised exhaustion for the first time). There is no consistent proposal from the gov as to what the law should be in order to preserve the IPR scheme.

                  The SCOTUS likes IPR and reexam. However, the Court may view this as something bigger than both of those mechanisms. Placing a common law / equitable claim like this before an Art I tribunal sets a dangerous precedent, and – to a degree – erodes the integrity of its own jurisdiction.

                5. which reminds me – it seems like the SCOTUS is now begging for a TRADEMARKS and PUBLIC RIGHTS case after B&B.

                  for all the IP lawyers out there . . .

                6. Happy landings on a chocolate bar.
                  See the sugar bowl
                  Do a tootsie roll
                  In a big bad devils food cake,
                  If you eat too much,
                  Oh, oh,
                  You’ll awake,
                  With a tummy ache.

                  (watch out for those icebergs)

                7. The SCOTUS likes IPR and reexam. However, the Court may view this as something bigger than both of those mechanisms. Placing a common law / equitable claim like this before an Art I tribunal sets a dangerous precedent, and – to a degree – erodes the integrity of its own jurisdiction.

                  Bad news for an already broken patent system.

                  Things are going to get much worse for the patent extortionists before they get better, however, and that’s something we can all celebrate.

                8. Malcolm,

                  Your script is inapposite here.

                  What point are you trying to make – to this conversation?

                  Feel free to use those short declarative sentences you are always on about (and do try to be on point).


    1. 7.3

      Dennis, if you are not going to post separately on the government brief and the MCM reply, may I suggest that you update the prior post on the MCM principal brief and allow further discussion there. The government brief and the MCM reply brief add a lot, primarily because the government brief expressly defends Patlex and its reasoning.

  3. 6

    Vera: For those that want to do research on the law, PACER is cost prohibitive. It is difficult, if not impossible, to get bulk downloads at any sort of reasonable cost

    Well, therein lies the rub.

    You make all the information available so that people who want to, say, look at some recently published or filed court documents can do so at no cost. And then along comes Johnny Greed and his 5,000 identical twins who gum up the system by automatically downloading everything at once because “it’s free.” And then Johnny tries to “monetize” the information because that’s how Johnny Greed rolls.

    Here’s the deal: let the professional downloaders “who want to do research on the law” subsidize the average person. Perfectly fair. Perfectly reasonable.

    1. 6.1
      1. 6.1.2

        Why is it wrong for Johnny to monetize the information?

        I didn’t say it was “wrong.” I said it was “greedy”.

        Johnny may add value

        How nice for Johnny.

        Johnny paid taxes

        Right. And Johnny should expect to pay a bit more if he wants to use waaaaaaay more of that information than 99.999% of the rest of the taxpayers. Like I said: it’s fair and reasonable.

        Or we can raise everybody’s taxes to support Johnny Greed and his ventures because Johnny Greed always “adds value.” Shall we take a vote?


          Would you also say it is “greedy” to charge $0.10 per page for something that was previously free?


            Would you also say it is “greedy” to charge $0.10 per page for something that was previously free?

            It does seem excessive to me. Unless something has changed recently, PACER offers a certain number of free pages/month. Of course, depending on what you’re looking for, the free pages can get used up pretty quickly. If the system can be made to work with free downloads for everybody then by all means that’s where it should be heading.

    2. 6.2

      There are ways a system could be designed that prevents it from being “gummed up” by bulk downloads, while still providing free public access to individual case files.

    3. 6.3

      It’s easy enough to prevent bulk downloads: just make users use captcha or something similar, at least after exceeding a certain download threshold within a given amount of time. The EPO’s espacenet does it, and apparently it works, because the information from the EPO is still free. And if the EPO, which isn’t beholden to voters or taxpayers, can do it, the CAFC, which likewise isn’t beholden to voters or taxpayers but the funding of which is subject to Congressional approval, can do it.

      Also note that some of the time, those repackagers of publicly-available info provide added value. For example, most US patent file histories since 2001 are available for free through PAIR, but the indexing is poor and the images are not searchable. There are times when it may be worthwhile to pay firm that repackages this information, if it provides the file history in a better-indexed, better-organized form, with searchable images. I assume that those repackagers do not go to the trouble of providing that added value in all cases – i.e., they don’t engage in bulk downloading – but only in those cases in which someone has indicated a willingness to pay for the service.

      1. 6.3.1

        Look, if there is a demand for a product or service, there will be a provider.

        The question really is this, would the government block Google or someone like Google from directly accessing court records and setting up an alternative, private, means of accessing court records?


          Think US Post Office. Private firms compete in delivering packages and the US Postal Service is really unnecessary. But it remains as a government service and so long as it is there, they block private firms for truly competing across the board so as to maintain revenues and employment for the government service.

          If Google were to come along and replace Pacer except for court filings, Pacer revenues would fall. I think that tells you why the government will block the likes of Google.


            Ned: it remains as a government service and so long as it is there, they block private firms for truly competing

            Those “private firms” do compete with the US Post Office, which provides excellent service for a decent price (at least that’s been my experience).

            You are perfectly free to use UPS or FedEx or DHL or whatever. Somehow I doubt those guys would lower their prices if the Post Office were to be thrown under the bus.


              Well, they cannot deliver all mail, and there are cases on point. I am sure the courts can and will block the likes of Google if it chose to do so.

              That said, Google might look at this as an opportunity.

  4. 5

    Ned Heller: The government cannot turn PACER over to Google unless one wants to view a lot of advertisements.

    Thank you, Ned, for the free laughs.

    Are you going to show me an ad now?

      1. 5.1.1

        I just searched google scholar like 4 times for 4 things and didn’t get one ad. If they put it in scholar it looks like it’ll be fine.

  5. 3

    Maybe the judiciary should emulate the executive who runs on a platform of transperancy…?

    Oops – we see what happens there – as the executive has set back to back to back records for the LEAST transparent presidency….

    As they say, politics as usual.

    1. 3.1

      the executive has set back to back to back records for the LEAST transparent presidency….

      That’s fascinating. How was this “transparency” measured and by whom?

      1. 3.1.1

        Don’t have the link handy, but it was a rebuttable news source (FYI, not Fox or other anti-dem) and had to do with Freedom of Information Act requests and such.

        If I find it, I will post it.


            For someone obsessed with “normalization”, there is a striking absence of any in that article and it would seem kind of important for making the claim that “this Presidency” is the “least transparent.”

            We have access to more realtime information about “this Presidency” compared to any other Presidency in the history of the planet. Where does that fit into the analysis?

            And note: I’m not defending any of Obama’s FOIA denials. I’m sure some of them are bogus. I’m just questioning the conclusion.

            To the best of the my knowledge, the Administration has not come close to issuing the kind of sweeping reprimands to its critics that, e.g., the Chimperor did while he was manufacturing propaganda to avenge his daddy.


              We have access to more realtime information about “this Presidency” compared to any other Presidency in the history of the planet. Where does that fit into the analysis?

              It doesn’t. That’s a complete non sequitur.

              As is your bit about “normalization,” as the focus here is on this presidency’s declaration during campaigning and then this presidency’s doing the exact opposite once in power.

              I’m not defending

              That’s funny as it looks like that is exactly what you are trying to do (albeit, in your rather ham fisted way).


                this presidency’s doing the exact opposite

                “Exact opposite”? I’ve read a link to a “rebuttable news source” that makes some conclusory statements based on some raw numbers.

                All I ‘m saying is that’s a strangely specific charge to make. It’d be nice to see some data to back it up. That data isn’t in the article.

                1. All I ‘m saying

                  LOL – all that you are doing is flailing around trying to pretend that you are not defending a presidency that ran on a platform of “transperancy” while once in power did the exact opposite.

                  Lots of dust kicking from you and for what? Because you somehow want to paint their efforts as “virtuous” or somehow minimize that this is simply as I stated: politics as usual…?


                  It’s rather amazing how difficult it is for you to agree to ANY point I make, isn’t it?

                2. this is simply as I stated: politics as usual

                  What you stated was this: “[T]he executive has set back to back to back records for the LEAST transparent presidency….”

                  You still haven’t backed up this remarkable charge. And I’ve given up expecting that you will.

  6. 2

    Amen, Dennis. I’ve never heard of a court charging a fee simply to view public records when you show up in-person. That would raise serious public access concerns: should we be charging an admission fee to see the work of our courts?

    Why then is there any charge for PACER or its state court counterparts? Yes, of course it costs money to run electronic docket systems. But it also costs money to staff clerk’s offices and deal with in-person inspection requests. And it’s hardly free for government agencies to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests. Still, this is the price we do pay and should pay for governmental transparency.

    All courts, and especially our most important court for resolving technology cases (the Federal Circuit), should wholeheartedly embrace free public access to court records.

    1. 1.1

      I thought PACER’s fees were supposed to be applied against the costs of operating PACER. It’s an obsolete system, when you consider that Google could do the same thing faster, better, with no restrictions on public access, and probably at no taxpayer expense.


          Google (Ads and collection of all your data) vs. U.S. Government (Collection of all your data and power to imprison you based on said data)


            Let’s not go crazy here. When the data was previously free from the Govt, was there any collection of data? If not, then there wouldn’t be now.

            As for Google, I’ve switched to Yahoo searching, as they supposedly do not track you. I do use Gmail, but I delete all my emails, and if I happen to use Google search, I delete all my searches. I don’t use Android. I constantly clear the cache in my browsers to prevent cookies from tracking me.


          ads and collection of all your data

          Promote the progress!

          Except when it’s not really progress at all but just the same old, same old “on a computer.”

          Speaking of which, do you know what’s really, really cool? Drones.

          You know what’s an improvement over a drone? A drone that collects data from your neighbor. That’s totally different from a drone that collects data because …. “neighbor”! Or so we are told over and over and again here by our absurd patent office and the courts that coddle “stakeholders” who beg for ownership over such things because (wait for it) …. “progress.”


          Google doesn’t put ads on Google Patents or Google Scholar. It’s likely they wouldn’t put ads on “Google Justice” or whatever they’d call it. As for collecting your data, there are lots of ways around that for the paranoid.


            APoTU. Why would Google then do anything for free unless it had a long term plan?


              Why would Google then do anything for free unless it had a long term plan?

              Ned, you might have missed this huge development in the evolution of humankind but occasionally people — even people organized into corporations — perform public services without any immediate tangible “payback” because “it seems like right thing to do.” If nothing else, the goodwill generated can sometimes go a long way towards creating a loyal base of cusomers.

              It may not be the norm, and it may strike some strictly money-minded people as nonsensical or “weak” or even “suicidal” — but it happens all the time. I know I’ve practiced a lot of “free giveaways” in my own businesses. Even if it doesn’t pay off, if you can afford it (and surely Google can afford it), it can be a lot of fun.


                MM, nice.

                But only institutions like churches are known to provide charities for more than a few decades.

                Do not expect private enterprise that have stockholders to provide public services free of charge for very long.

    2. 1.2

      Hey Ned,

      Yes, that’s true. But per statute, the court isn’t supposed to charge more to access information that it actually costs to implement the system. (See the 2002 E-Government Act and the notes to 28 U.S.C. 1913).

      PACER fees don’t actually reflect the cost to the system. And in fact PACER had, in 2009 at least, a $150 million dollar surplus (see here). Despite this, the Judicial Conference raised “per page” fees (which is a nonsense measure of costs in an electronic system) from 8 cents to 10 cents in 2013.

      For those that want to do research on the law, PACER is cost prohibitive. It is difficult, if not impossible, to get bulk downloads at any sort of reasonable cost (there are fee waivers available, but my understanding is that they are rarely, if ever, granted).

      The law shouldn’t be behind a paywall, or at the very least, shouldn’t be available only to those willing to pay fees that bear no relationship to the actual costs incurred by the courts.

      1. 1.2.1

        There is no free lunch.

        One cannot simply demand that the courts supply its records free of charge.

        Google may seem free, but it really is not. It simply charges advertisers. The government cannot turn PACER over to Google unless one wants to view a lot of advertisements.

        I understand that today’s Google environment that we are all spoiled brats. It is just annoying to see it on display.


          The current operation of PACER is technically breaking the law. Too bad there is no one to adjudicate this dispute.

          So, people are spoiled brats for wanting reasonable access to public documents generated via their tax dollars? That is pretty crazy.


            I call it like I see it. One cannot demand free lunches.

            One argue that if the government supplied free lunches things would be better for society. But that is entirely different from the entitlement mentality on display here.


              I guess I don’t see it like you see it. So I too am calling it like I see it.

              I do not see anyone demanding a free lunch. It is more like, after buying into a lunch program (taxes that pay for the Federal judiciary), asking that the lunch (public court documents) you paid for.

              At the very least, it is not entitled to ask for lunch at the price that is mandated by law.


                It is more like, after buying into a lunch program (taxes that pay for the Federal judiciary), asking that the lunch (public court documents) you paid for.

                No kidding.

                Call me crazy but it seems like a tad better value than buying weapons for some people on the other side of the world to use against us.

                Of course, it depends on how many hours a night you lie awake like some chickenshirt worrying about Iran.

                1. MM, the tough question on Iran is whether they represent a threat to world peace or not, and if they do, what should OUR role be in containing that threat.

                  Tough questions, these.

                2. MM, whether the government should provide free access to some information for the betterment of all is the way we should look at this. If that requires Pacer to raise fees here to lower its fees there, that discussion must be had up front and center.

                3. I once played a lot of the game Civilization. In the game, if one used nuclear weapons, one lost all alliances, and everyone in the world declared war on you.

                  Back in the day, Kennedy said that an attack on Germany was an attack on the US, and that we would use nukes. That threat seemed to keep the peace.

                  We could today do the same with respect to Israel – and say that a nuclear attack on Israel would be treated as a nuclear attack on the US, and would immediately place the US into a state of nuclear war with whomever.

                  But do we want that?

                  Wouldn’t it be better for the UN Security Council to issue the writ — that if anyone nukes anyone except in retaliation, the UN and all its members thereby are in a state of war with that country, and anyone who aids it?

                  Or would should we better be placed in a position that if anyone nukes anyone else, we would petition the UN for sanctions or a declaration of war with no guarantee that the UN would approve.

                  One data point is Iraq. Saddam defied Clinton and Bush. Even if he didn’t have WOMD, we thought he did. Sanctions and inspections had no effect because of the way he behaved. Expect the same from Iran.

                  It would seem from the above, that the Kennedy approach makes the best sense. Let Iran have nukes. But if they even dare think about using them, make them think twice.

                4. Ned, that’s awesome that you played civ. Great series.

                  If you get a little free time….check out Europa Universalis 4. Its the game you always wanted.


              hey there — I don’t think asking for fees to be reasonable and reflect actual costs to be entitled. To me, it’s a fundamental part of democracy to have access to the law and to justice. New technologies have made it easier to get access to law and justice, but artificial barriers are being placed on that access, and it’s unclear why. (It certainly isn’t cost, as the PACER surplus and lower costs of technology make clear).

              We’re currently in the midst of a debate on whether patent law should be modified. We should promote more information disclosure as to the current state of the law rather than less if we want the debate to be informed. This is not “entitlement.” This is democracy.


                Denial of free access to Pacer does not deny one’s access to the law.

                Where do these silly notions come from? What kind of thinking is this?

                A Freeloader walks into a government run town and demands
                1) free food;
                2) free shelter;
                3) free transportation;
                4) free telephone;
                etc., etc., etc.

                Why should the government provide these things to him. Who pays for them/ Money does not grow on trees.

                The Freeloader responds that unless he gets these things, he is being denied his inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?

                Mein Gott!

                So we give the Freeloader his free food, lodging, transportation and phone. Then we tell him, he should get a job so he can pay taxes and help carry the load.

                They Freeloader then asks, “Why, I don’t really want anything beyond what I get for free.”

                So, what is you answer to this Freeloader?

                1. Fundamentally Ned, I think we disagree.

                  Access to law and justice, to me, is a critical part of democracy. We should not be artificially limiting access to the law just “because.” (to be clear: I’m not saying that providing access doesn’t create costs. It does. But we shouldn’t impose unnecessary costs on those who want to know about the law. That’s what the current system does). If you reread my comments, you’ll see that what I think is that costs should be reasonable. That is not the system we currently have.

                  In the end, we disagree, I think because I believe that a system where the law is only available to the wealthy is not a system we should work towards, and we should attempt to give greater access wherever possible.

                  Finally, you say:
                  Denial of free access to Pacer does not deny one’s access to the law.

                  Do you know this for sure? I would encourage you to reach out to others in the public interest world and consider how they view PACER, if you do not trust me to give an unbiased opinion.

                2. Vera, no doubt lower costs on some by raising costs on others is justifiable as a social end, but this should be voluntary and chosen. Subsidies should never be viewed as a legal right.

                  This is where we differ.

                3. And, Vera, this is a somewhat sensitive issue for me personally because I had an aunt, now deceased, who was very high up in the government who, during dinner in DC one night, told me point blank that everyone had

                  “A right to health.”

                  Now, think about that just for a moment.

                  A person has a right to life — but that only protects one from actions of third parties to end one’s life. We know that my aunt meant this right to health to mean the same thing as a right to life — but it was the government’s obligation to assure everyone had a right to shelter, food, and medicine, doctors, operations, drugs, or whatever it took to stay alive and healthy.

                  Now that is something. And she believed it.

                  And just where does this right come from?

                4. “Denial of free access to Pacer does not deny one’s access to the law.”

                  It’s been denying my access to lawl for many years now Ned.

      2. 1.2.2

        Could not agree more. It is ridiculous that the information previously made public by the Federal Circuit is no longer available except via PACER.

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