SCOTUS Implements New Electronic Filing Guidelines


At long last, the Supreme Court of the United States has joined the rest of the federal court system in adopting electronic filing. As of November 13, 2017, attorneys filing documents with the Court must submit their documents through the Court’s electronic filing system.

The Court is using its own filing system, separate from the PACER system used by the rest of the federal courts. Unlike PACER, the Court’s electronic filing system will make all filed documents accessible to the public at no cost. Although Supreme Court briefs and opinions are already available for free on other websites, the Court’s website will make those documents more readily accessible to members of the public who might be unaware of those third-party sources.

Attorneys filing with the Court must register before submitting documents through the Court’s electronic filing system. Members of the Supreme Court Bar and attorneys appointed under the Criminal Justice Act can register here. Be aware, however, that the registration process can take a couple of days. If you anticipate filing documents with the Court, better to register well in advance of any impending filing deadlines to ensure that your username and password are active before you need to submit a document.

But even once you are approved to file electronically with the Court, don’t delete your preferred U.S. Supreme Court printing company from your contacts just yet. Electronic filing with the Court is an additional requirement that does not replace conventional filing and service. Litigants still must file paper copies of nearly every electronically filed document, with the exception of notices of appearance and withdrawal. And although the electronic filing system will notify all registered users who have appeared in a case when a new document is filed, parties remain obligated to effectuate service conventionally according to the Court’s rules. The electronic filing system also will not accept payments for filing fees; any required filing fee must still be paid by check.

Some documents cannot be filed electronically. Documents containing sealed material cannot be filed electronically, even if the sealed material is redacted. Instead, both the sealed and redacted versions must be filed in paper form. Filings in Social Security and immigration cases governed by Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 5.2(c) also cannot be submitted through the electronic system. Documents related to membership in the Supreme Court Bar also cannot be submitted electronically. Attorneys must continue filing paper copies of all such documents.

The complete electronic filing guidelines are available here.

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