The US Supreme Court is dropping paper for a digital filing system


The US Supreme Court is notorious for sticking to antiquated methods and traditions, such as not allowing cameras in the court rooms or wearing those silly eighteenth century robes. Fortunately, the court is willingly to accept some changes every now and again, with the most recent being that the court intends to begin switching to a digital filing system (as opposed to a paper one) starting in 2016.

The Supreme Court will soon join other federal courts in making briefs and other filings available electronically, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. announced Wednesday. The changes will come “as soon as 2016,” the chief justice wrote in his annual year-end report on the state of the federal judiciary. Chief Justice Roberts explained the court’s approach to technological change in the balance of the report, saying that judges had a special obligation to move more slowly than the rest of society. Though he did not say so directly, some of his reasoning seemed to apply to other areas in which the court has been resistant to change. The court bans television coverage, for instance, and it usually releases audio recordings of oral arguments days after they took place. The justices mostly communicate in writing, on paper rather than by email.


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