This Note will examine the Fee’s [the first hurdle for litigants taking their claims to federal court: the $402 fee charged at filing] impact on those of low-to-moderate income that are ineligible for IFP status. Further, this Note will look at the disproportionate impact the Fee has on racial minorities. This Note will then argue that, for those of low to moderate income, the Fee constitutes an unconstitutional bar to exercising an individual’s due process rights to be heard and to have meaningful access to the courts. This Note will propose, as an alternative to the current flat filing fee with an optional waiver for IFP litigants, a graduated pay scale based on income. This means-tested fee scale would better reflect the progressive nature of the American tax and social welfare systems that face similar legal and constitutional considerations.
To read this Note, please click here: America, Land of the Fee: A Constitutional Analysis of Federal Filing Fees.