Dear Chairmen Graham and Nadler
and Ranking Members Feinstein and Collins:

February 19, 2019

We write in
support of increased transparency and accountability in our nation’s federal
courts and ask that you advance legislation this Congress that achieves these

We believe that carefully crafted
reform legislation will result in a better
public understanding of, and respect
for, the judiciary. We also believe
that it is critical that the ethics rules and disclosure requirements that apply to the judiciary are equally applied to the Supreme
Court and that no entity within our third branch
of government is, or is perceived
to be, above the law.

We are grateful that so many Members—approximately one-fourth of Congress—supported legislation last session to improve openness at all levels of the
judiciary. Some of those bills would have required live streaming from
appellate courtrooms, while others would have enhanced public access to court records.
Others still would have authorized more rigorous ethics and recusal rules
for the Supreme Court.

Though we may not have supported
every provision in these bills,
they represent the growing interest
we and members of the public have in improved judicial accountability
and efficiency.

As you
consider reforms in these areas, we urge you to craft legislation that
addresses five principles:

  1. Improved
    broadcast access

To ensure the public can follow the work of the
judiciary as it occurs

To ensure the public can retrieve federal case
filings with greater ease and at a lower cost

To ensure the judiciary promotes a harassment-free
work environment

To ensure
all federal judges,
including Supreme Court
justices, follow a robust ethics
rubric, post their annual financial statements online
and explain their
periodic recusals

To ensure the judiciary has the staff and resources
it needs to carry out its mission

We hope to
serve as a resource for you as you recommence this important work in the 116th Congress, and we look
forward to discussing how these principles can help guide your legislative


Fix the Court

American Society of Magazine Editors

American Society of News Editors

Associated Press Media Editors

Association of Alternative Newsmedia

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Project on Government Oversight

Free Law Project

Government Accountability Project

Government Information Watch

National Press Photographers Association

National Security Counselors

R Street Institute

Niskanen Center

Open the Government

Republicans for the Rule of Law

Stand Up Republic

Tully Center for Free Speech at Syracuse

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