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House Judiciary Panel to Hold Hearing on Access to Federal Courts

Courts Subcommittee to examine broadcast, PACER and sealed court records as the judiciary faces a crisis in public confidence

The House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, IP, and the internet will hold a hearing on the public access to the courts on Thursday, Sept. 26, at 2:00 p.m. ET in Rayburn 2141. Topics will include expanding broadcast access to the federal courts system, including the Supreme Court; methods of improving public access to electronic court records, i.e., free PACER; and the proliferation of sealed court records.

The witnesses scheduled to appear are:
Justice Jorge Labarga of the Florida Supreme Court (formerly the Chief Justice, 2014-2018)
Seamus Hughes, deputy director of GWU’s program on extremism and an expert on court records
– Jeffrey Toobin, legal analyst for CNN and former DOJ attorney
– Sunny Hostin, correspondent for ABC News, co-host of “The View” and former DOJ attorney
– Two representatives from the Judicial Conference of the United States
– Two Reuters investigative reporters (Dan Levine, Lisa Girion) who exposed the impact of sealed documents in opioid cases

FTC’s Gabe Roth applauded the Subcommittee for examining issues of public access and court transparency: With growing skepticism in our courts from the American public, greater transparency is in order, so it’s heartening to see members of Congress examining discrete opportunities for reform. After all, the federal judiciary is too powerful and too important to go without appropriate levels of oversight.

A live video feed of the hearing should be available on this House Judiciary page.

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