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US Supreme Court to ease access to court documents: Chief Justice Roberts

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(Reuters) – U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts said on Wednesday the Supreme Court is launching a new case-filing system that will enable the public for the first time to view all court papers on the court’s own website.

The high court has been accused by critics of being behind the times and clinging to internal workings that are too secretive. But Roberts said in his annual report on the U.S. judicial system that America’s courts must be cautious when considering technological advances.

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New systems can be adopted only when it is certain they do not hinder the ability of courts to adjudicate cases “fairly and efficiently,” Roberts said.

Roberts wrote in the report that, perhaps as soon as 2016, “all filings at the court … will be available to the legal community and the public without cost on the court’s website.”

Roberts said that although lawyers will then be able to file everything electronically, which is common practice in the federal court system, the court will still accept paper filings from petitioners who do not have legal representation.

Currently, only a small proportion of Supreme Court documents, including its rulings, are available on its public website. Other documents, including all the briefs filed by litigants, are available online only through third-party legal research sites and a news website that covers the court called SCOTUSblog.

The court has faced criticism from some quarters, including from media organizations, about a perceived lack of transparency. The court does not allow TV cameras to record its proceedings, although it does issue audio recordings of oral arguments.

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Roberts wrote that the courts “must often introduce new technologies at a more measured pace than other institutions, especially those in private industry.”

As a result, court administrators “will sometimes seem more guarded in adopting cutting-edge innovations, and for good reasons, considering some of the concerns that the judiciary must consider in deploying new technologies.”

(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Editing by Will Dunham)

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UK’s Boris Johnson looks set for big win in ‘Brexit election’

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson's ruling party appeared on course for a sweeping victory in Thursday's snap election, an exit poll showed, paving the way for Britain to leave the EU next month after years of political deadlock.

The Conservatives were forecast to win a thumping 368 out of 650 seats in parliament -- which if confirmed would be the party's biggest majority in three decades -- according to the survey published as polls closed.

The pound jumped by about two percent against the dollar on the projected results of what all sides had painted as the most momentous election in Britain in a generation.

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Maddow reports on ‘a tide of major newspaper editorials’ drowning Trump’s impeachment defenses

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On Thursday, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow noted the sheer volume of editorial boards from newspapers across America calling for President Donald Trump's impeachment and removal from office.

"The editorials that Steve Cohen introduced into the record there that Doug Collins from Georgia said he wanted to read and Steve Cohen said 'I'd love for you to read them,' they're part of a tide of major newspaper editorials that have come out all of a sudden in the last few days in favor of impeachment," said Maddow. "USA TODAY's editorial board saying, quote, 'Until recently we believed impeachment proceedings would be unhealthy for an already polarized nation, rather than simply leaving Trump's fate up to voters next November. But Trump's egregious transgressions and stonewalling in his thuggish effort to trade American arms for foreign dirt on Joe Biden resembled Richard Nixon. It's precisely the type of misconduct the framers had in mind when they wrote impeachment into the Constitution."

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‘People died in Ukraine’: Democrat lectures Doug Collins for Trump’s abuse of power costing lives

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During Thursday's impeachment hearing, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) laid bare the human cost of President Donald Trump's decision to withhold military aid from Ukraine to force them to hunt for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden's family — something that ranking member Doug Collins (R-GA) spent the previous day denying.

"In my colleague's efforts to defend this president, you want him to be someone he's not. You want him to be someone he is telling you he is not," said Swalwell. "You're trying to defend the call in so many different ways, and he's saying, guys, it was a perfect call. He's not who you want him to be. And let me tell you how selfish his acts were. And ranking member Collins, you can deny this as much as you want. People died in Ukraine at the hands of Russia," said Swalwell. "In Ukraine, since September 2018 when it was voted on by Congress, was counting on our support. One year passed and people died. And you may not want to think about that, it may be hard for you to think about that, but they died when the selfish, selfish president withheld the aid for his own personal gain."

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