Similar to humans, websites can be unsafe. Unlike other people, it is easy to tell if a website is unsafe. You should see a lock icon next to “reason.com/volokh/” in the address bar of your browser. Click on this lock. A box will appear indicating that the connection is secure. All responsible websites have security certificates. These simple licenses let users know that information is safe to upload and download.
SupremeCourt.gov, a responsible website, is safe.
And most federal appeals courts are safe. The first, second, third, fourth, sixth, eighth, ninth, tenth, eleventh and DC circuit are safe.
Other courts of appeal are unsafe. The fifth circuit is unsafe.
The seventh circuit is also unsafe.
And the Federal Circuit – the so-called Tech Court! – it is not save. No wonder the Supreme Court keeps reversing them!
Some state courts are also unsafe. For example the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Perhaps the independent state parliament can fix this problem. (Kidding, kidding).
Unfortunately, my home state is no better. Hackers can mess with Texas. We defended the Alamo. Of course we can defend a website.
In the future, these unsafe dishes and many others should become safe. Why? The latest version of the Google Chrome browser is blocking downloads on a safe page on an unsafe website. If I include a link to a PDF from one of these unsafe websites, it will be blocked. Worse still, how responsive (a safe site) can no longer link to PDFs on any of those unsafe sites. Howard Bashman is a national treasure. I know Richter regularly checks his website. Now Howard’s links are not working.
I ran into this problem by chance today. I tried downloading an updated statement from Fifth Circuit but couldn’t. However, when I visited the Fifth Circuit website, I was able to download the statement from the Opinions page. With all due respect, the court’s websites should be secure. These certificates are not difficult to install. And if these sites are not fortified, it will be more difficult for people to gain access to the law.
I will report on whether these websites are safe in due course. For now there is a simple workaround: (1) right click the link, (2) click “Copy Link Address”, (3) paste this link into your address bar. The file is being downloaded because the request was not from a secured site.