Tag Archives: FOIA

Attorney’s Fees When Private Entities Intervene: Detention Watch Network v. ICE

by Bernard Bell — Monday, Feb. 11, 2019

Summary: Last week, a judge held the Government responsible for FOIA plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees incurred after the Government declined to appeal an adverse judgment and a business entity intervened to pursue the appeal.  Detention Watch Network v. ICE, 2019 WL 442453 (S.D.N.Y. February 5, 2019).  In this post I analyze the decision and discusses its […]

Sierra Club v. U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service: The Deliberative Process Privilege in Multi-Agency Deliberations

by Bernard Bell — Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019

In Bennett v. Spear, 520 U.S. 154 (1997), the Supreme Court held a final biological opinion reviewable because it marked the consummation of the agency process and was an action “from which rights and obligations flow,” even though the opinion was merely delivered to another agency for use in considering its proposed action.   Id. at […]

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

by Bernard Bell — Monday, Oct. 22, 2018

This post concludes a four-part series prompted by the Supreme Court’s stay of the Eighth Circuit’s mandate in Food Marketing Institute v. Argus Leader Media, 889 F.3d 914 (2018).  The first four posts (available here, here, here, and here) addressed the Food Marketing Institute’ frontal assault on the National Parks test for identifying “confidential” commercial […]

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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