Anyone involved in legal research is more than familiar with PACER (the name, an acronym, stands for: Public Access to Court Electronic Records). Before we delve into the glaring weaknesses and errors of PACER, let’s just step back and give thanks that there is a way for users to access docket and documents filed in all federal district, bankruptcy, and appellate courts—it could always be worse (and judging by some state court docket site designs, it can be much, much worse). Clearly, this is a massive undertaking, and the volume of information being tracked and made electronically available is absolutely stunning. But, PACER does have its flaws, here are a few of the more conspicuous:
Review: SCOTUSblog’s New iOS App
Everybody’s favorite U.S. Supreme Court blog, SCOTUSblog, recently released an accompanying iOS app. At this point, the app’s main feature is to display the blog entries from the SCOTUSblog site, enabling on-the-go attorneys an easy method of staying abreast of the latest happenings at our nation’s court of last resort. Users have the ability to turn on iPhone push notifications, so, whenever a new blog entry is posted to SCOTUSblog, app users will be instantaneously alerted. The app also enables users to sort and view SCOTUSblog entries into the following categories: featured, round-up, breaking news, and editor’s notes. Lastly, users can use the app as a middleman to jump into SCOTUSblog’s twitter feed. To be clear, this app doesn’t contain content beyond what can be found on the SCOTUSblog site; rather, the point of the app is to quickly connect SCOTUSblog fans to the content of the blog via their mobile devices. With that said, Andrew Hamm of SCOTUSblog has stated new improvements and features will be regularly rolled out to the app, so it’s definitely worth keeping an eye on.