November/December 2011
Pilot Project Enhances Public Access to Federal Court Opinions

United States Courts Opinions collection is a pilot project between the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO) and the AO to enhance public access to opinions from selected United States appellate, district, and bankruptcy courts through the Federal Digital System (FDsys), an outgrowth of the GPO.

Presently, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals is the only appellate court to participate in the pilot program, which launched in October 2011, though more than 12,000 opinions from three other courts –the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island, and the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts for the Southern District of Florida and Southern District of New York – have been made available. The pilot project was approved by the policy-making Judicial Conference of the United States in March 2010, and the GPO received approval from the Joint Committee on Printing – often referred to as the oldest joint committee of the Congress – in February 2011.

Work is currently underway to bring the opinions from the original pilot courts as well as an additional 22 courts to FDsys in 2012. The content of the collection dates back to April 2001, though searchable electronic holdings for some courts may be incomplete. The secure transfer of files to GPO from the AO maintains the chain of custody, allowing GPO authenticate the files with digital signatures.



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