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E-Govermnent Act of 2002, a constitutional matter.

I agree that the judiciary is exceeding it's fee raising authority under the E-Government Act of 2002. However, that complaint misses a larger, more important problem: the E-Government Act of 2002 -- at least the part that permits the judiciary to charge fees -- is an unconstitutional delegation of Congress's taxing and revenue raising power to the judiciary.

The reason the Framers put the legal ability to raise revenue in the House is to ensure that the people had the power to reach the unelected parts of the federal government. If an unelected branch of government (like the federal courts) has its own, free-standing revenue raising power outside of the Congressional appropriations process, that branch becomes an unreachable "government within a government", so to speak. Further underscoring this constitutional breakdown is this legal circularity: The judiciary holds the power to decide whether the judiciary is exceeding its own authority.

I am more than familiar with the 50-year history of federal case law holding that the fee structures by federal executive and judicial departments are constitutional. Those cases are constitutionally flawed, in my view.

The advocates who are arguing for open access to PACER data should now see why the Framers separated powers, and when those power divisions are broken down (and they are broken down, I assure you), citizens become subjects, and the consequences are real.

The branch of government that is directly elected by the people holds the constitutional power of the purse over the unelected branches, and legislation delegating that power -- in this case, the E-Government Act of 2002 -- is unconstitutional.

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