PACER Cards + Letters Campaign for National Law Day

Pacer CupAs part of our Justice program, The Smart Chicago Collaborative, along with a number of friends from around the nation, is conducting a cards + letters campaign to ask Chief Judge Ruben Castillo of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Illinois to look into issues with PACER, the system run by the federal judiciary that provides access to court dockets.

PACER is difficult to use, has a complicated and onerous fee structure, and is otherwise an impediment to the sharing of information about the decisions and actions of our federal court system.

The impetus for this campaign can be found in the text of “In re: PACER” by Carl Malamud of  Public.Resource.Org. Carl has long been a leading protector of the public domain and this pamphlet is a marvelous primer on the topic.

We are organizing our campaign around May 1, 2015. Among other things, May 1 is Law Day, which is “meant to reflect on the role of law in the foundation of the country and to recognize its importance for society”.

Right now we are searching for partners in our campaign. We are looking to connect with law schools, law firms, and regular residents of the district to write cards + letters and get their neighbors to do the same.

Are you interested in helping change the relationship between the people and their courts? Hit us up at

In re: PACER homepage