For most of the nation’s history, the most common way to read court filings was to travel to the courthouse itself, pull up a desk in the clerk’s office, and leaf through them by hand.
This was hardly a convenient system, especially if you lived in a far-flung rural area or lacked the resources to travel to a nearby courthouse for the task. But it was still an impressive one.
Public access was a core principle of the American federal judiciary, which absorbed both the Founders’ disdain for secretive British courts and their belief in the democratic virtue of open legal proceedings....
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