Dissenting Statement of Donna Bergsgaard

It has been a privilege to serve as a member of the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on the Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch. It is difficult to imagine issues of greater importance in our democracy than those concerning the public’s access to the records of its government.

I have been honored to consider those issues in the company of such knowledgeable and experienced professionals. It is therefore with great reluctance, and only because of how critical I believe those issues to be, that I must respectfully disagree with the majority report’s recommendations concerning Internet and bulk access to judicial records.

The issues surrounding access are so important and complex that I believe more time and thought is necessary to ensure that we pay appropriate attention to the value of public access to judicial records, identify with precision those specific harms that are realistically posed by different forms of access to different types of judicial records, and then recommend precise rules to prevent those harms while facilitating robust public access to judicial records.

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