Author Archives: Bernard Bell

Oh SNAP!: The Battle Over “Food Stamp” Redemption Data That May Radically Reshape FOIA Exemption 4 (Part II)

by Bernard Bell — Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2018

The Supreme Court appears poised to entertain an impending challenging to the well‑developed Circuit law defining the scope of Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) Exemption 4 — the National Parks/Critical Mass test.  This post is the second in a series.  The first described the development of the National Parks/Critical Mass doctrine and recounted the somewhat […]

Oh SNAP!: The Battle Over “Food Stamp” Redemption Data That May Radically Reshape FOIA Exemption 4 (Part I)

by Bernard Bell — Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018

On August 29, the Supreme Court ordered recall of the mandate in an Eighth Circuit case, Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, 889 F.3d 914 (2018). It issued the Order, available here, in anticipation of a certiorari petition attacking the foundations of well-developed Circuit law defining the scope of Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) […]

Welcome to the United States: Installing GPS Tracking Devices at the Border

by Bernard Bell — Friday, Aug. 31, 2018

“Like the Internet, the [Global Positioning System (“GPS”)] is an essential element of the global information infrastructure,” and “is now in everything from cell phones and wristwatches to bulldozers, shipping containers, and ATM’s.”  GPS Applications, GPS.gov.  But, as Justice Brandeis predicted in his famous Olmstead dissent, technological advances augur challenges to individual privacy.  Olmstead v. […]

“Hard Look” and “Proceduralized” Review: The Saga of the Abu Ghraib Photographs, 2009 to Present

by Bernard Bell — Monday, Aug. 27, 2018

Between October and December 2003 U.S. military personnel engaged in “sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuse” of Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison.  See, Seymour M. Hersh, Torture at Abu Ghraid, THE NEW YORKER (May 10, 2004).  Photographs and videos recorded the abuse; a few were published when the abuse was first reported.   See, id.  […]

Citizenship and the Census: State of New York v. U.S. Department of Commerce (Round One)(Part IV)

by Bernard Bell — Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2018

This is the final post in my four-part series discussing Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 decennial census form.  The Secretary justified his decision by referencing the Department of Justice’s need for citizenship information in certain Voting Rights Act section 2 litigation.  Plaintiffs in the New York […]

Citizenship and the Census: State of New York v. U.S. Department of Commerce (Round One)(Part III)

by Bernard Bell — Tuesday, Aug. 14, 2018

This is my third post of four posts regarding Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ March 26, 2018 decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 decennial census form.  The first post (here) discussed the disposition of the government’s motion to dismiss two suits challenging the decision.  The second post (here) took Secretary Ross’ reasons […]

Citizenship and the Census: State of New York v. U.S. Department of Commerce (Round One)(Part II)

by Bernard Bell — Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018

If all lives matter, then all lives count. This is the second in a series of posts regarding Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ March 26, 2018 memorandum (here) directing the Census Bureau to add a citizenship question to the 2020 decennial census form distributed to all households.  Administrative Record filed in New York v. Department […]

Citizenship and the Census: State of New York v. U.S. Department of Commerce (Round One)(Part I)

by Bernard Bell — Friday, Aug. 3, 2018

The electorate should choose its representatives, not the other way around. On March 26, 2018, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross directed the Census Bureau to include a question regarding citizenship on the 2020 census short form distributed to all households.  Memorandum from Wilbur Ross to Karen Dunn Kelley, Under Secretary for Economic Affairs, Department of […]

U.S. v. California: The District Court’s Preliminary Injunction Ruling

by Bernard Bell — Friday, July 27, 2018

On March 6, 2018, the Justice Department sued California over its “sanctuary” laws.  U.S. v. California, Dkt No. 18-264, Complaint (E.D. Cal.); Thomas Fuller & Vivien Yee, Jeff Sessions Scolds California in Immigration Speech: “We Have a Problem,” N.Y. Times A22 (March 7, 2018).  The District Court has now ruled on the federal government’s preliminary […]

“Expect Delays”: Judicial Watch v. Department of Homeland Security

by Bernard Bell — Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Delay has been an endemic problem for the Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) regime.  As a 2016 staff report of the House Committee on Government and Oversight Reform said: Agencies fail to articulate reasons for delays or explain how to navigate the process. Requesters wait months, not weeks, before receiving any response. Even a denial […]

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