Tag Archives: FOIA

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

by Bernard Bell — Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018

This post is the concluding portion of Part III on my series on Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media.  In this post I argued that even if the Supreme Court remains unconvinced by a formal reenactment or acquiescence argument, like that outlined in Part III-A, the Court should hesitate before upending uniform court of […]

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

by Bernard Bell — Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018

This is my third post regarding the stay of the mandate in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media. The Supreme Court appears ready to consider, and potentially upend, the well-developed Circuit law defining the scope of Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) Exemption 4 — the National Parks/Critical Mass doctrine.  My first post described the […]

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”) […]

“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.  […]

“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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Plausible Deniability: Selective Disclosure of Information and FOIA

by Bernard Bell — Thursday, May 17, 2018

Unofficial leaking has been in the news recently, and is never far away from public consciousnesses.  But “[g]overnment officials and military officers, from the President on down, routinely authorize leaks for policy or political purposes.”  Jack Nelson, U.S. government Secrets and the Current Crackdown on Leaks 2 (2002), accessible at, https://shorensteincenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/2003_01_nelson.pdf?x78124. Suppose intelligence officials want […]

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Applying the “Deliberative Process Privilege” to Internal Agency Debates Regarding Communications Strategy

by Bernard Bell — Tuesday, Apr. 10, 2018

On December 14, 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal its Obama-Era net neutrality rules.  The day before the vote, FCC Chair Ajit Pai appeared in a humorous and unconventional “Harlem Shake” video produced by the Daily Caller, a conservative website.  In the video, entitled “7 Things You Can Still Do After Net Neutrality,” […]

Rocky Mountain Wild v. U.S. Forest Service: Applying Forsham v. Harris in the NEPA Context, by Bernard W. Bell

by Guest Blogger — Sunday, Mar. 11, 2018

The Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) makes “agency records” available to the public upon request, but leaves the term “agency record” undefined. In Forsham v. Harris, 445 U.S. 169 (1980), the Supreme Court ruled that FOIA did not reach documents created and held by government contractors. Later, in U.S. Dep’t of Justice v. Tax Analysts, […]

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Villanova Law Review Symposium: FOIA at 50

by Chris Walker — Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017@chris_j_walker

Looks like a fascinating law review symposium by the Villanova Law Review (from the law school’s website): The Villanova Law Review examines fifty years of operation under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) with its annual Norman J. Shachoy Symposium on October 20, 2017. The symposium features a group of distinguished FOIA and transparency scholars, governmental officials, […]

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