The Politics of Research Access to Federal Court Data

13 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2002

See all articles by Lynn M. LoPucki

Lynn M. LoPucki

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law

Abstract

This 11-page paper argues that the problems of empirical researchers in accessing federal court data are principally political, not technological or economic. The technological advances of the past twenty years - computerization of court records and internet access through PACER - have been offset almost entirely by political restrictions on data access. Additional restrictions, ostensibly to protect privacy, now threaten to reduce access further. The data access problem discourages research that might produce results critical of the judges or the functioning of the legal process. The problem thus restricts public access to critical evidence of the courts' failures and limits public understanding of how the courts actually function.

JEL Classification: K41, K10, K00

Suggested Citation

LoPucki, Lynn M., The Politics of Research Access to Federal Court Data. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=302039 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.302039

Lynn M. LoPucki (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - School of Law ( email )

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