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Website Promotes Access to Judiciary Information

The history and workings of the U.S. court system can now be explored with a variety of easy-to-navigate and interactive tools available on the Federal Judicial Center’s revamped website. The site, which launched this week, is aimed at providing more information in engaging ways to judicial history buffs, academics and researchers, court personnel, and just about anyone with an interest in the Third Branch.

The website has been upgraded on several fronts. It is fully mobile for the first time, allowing users to get what they need on their cell phones or iPads in addition to computers and laptops. The content is more interactive. For example, researchers can conduct custom searches of databases of court case data or Judiciary demographics, which in some instances can also be downloaded. The content is also shareable via email and social media platforms.

“It’s very inviting and engaging,” said Esther DeVries, the director of the FJC’s Information Technology Office. “The interactive engagement of data is brand new on the site and it’s allowed us to expand the way we present data. We are well beyond text. It’s much more visual.”

The Federal Judicial History section has long been popular with the website’s users, and it has gotten a major refurbishing. For example, users can easily locate the number of federal judges appointed by past presidents. A timeline section allows users to traipse through history to learn about major developments in case law and judicial administration.

One interactive feature shows maps of the growth of the Judiciary’s circuit system from the original three to the present 13 circuits. Another sends users back to the 18th Century to look at the distribution of judgeships at a time there was just one for each of the 13 American colonies.

The website redesign, over a year in the making, is the first since the early 2000s. It was a priority project for Judge Jeremy D. Fogel, the director of the FJC, the education and research arm of the federal court system. The revamp was designed to make more information about the Judiciary available to the public, make it easier to find and explore, and to make it interactive for the first time.

Related Topics: Federal Judicial Center