Tag Archives: FOIA

FOIA Resources from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

by Chris Walker — Wednesday, June 19, 2019@chris_j_walker

Yesterday my DC summer program class met with lawyers from the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. In addition to learning more about the amazing work they do to promote the freedom of the press, I discovered two really helpful public resources on the state and federal freedom of information law that RCFP has developed. […]

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Making Soup from a Single Oyster? CREW v. DOJ and the Obligation to Publish Office of Legal Counsel Opinions (Part III)

by Bernard Bell — Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Summary: This three-post series discusses Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Wash. v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, which affirmed dismissal of a suit to require publication of all Office of Legal Counsel (“OLC”) opinions.  This final post offers tentative thoughts on the applicability of FOIA’s affirmative disclosure requirements to OLC opinions. Some Thoughts on Whether […]

Making Soup from a Single Oyster? CREW v. DOJ and the Obligation to Publish Office of Legal Counsel Opinions (Part II)

by Bernard Bell — Thursday, May 16, 2019

Summary: This three-post series discusses Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Wash. v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice, a recent D.C. Circuit opinion affirming dismissal of a suit seeking to require publication of all Office of Legal Counsel (“OLC”) opinions.  This post critiques the decision. In Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Wash. v. U.S. Dep’t […]

Making Soup from a Single Oyster? CREW v. DOJ and the Obligation to Publish Office of Legal Counsel Opinions (Part I)

by Bernard Bell — Monday, May 13, 2019

Summary: This three-part series discusses a recent D.C. Circuit opinion affirming dismissal of a claim that FOIA mandates publication of all Office of Legal Counsel (“OLC”) opinions.  This post summarized OLC’s publication practices and the D.C. Circuit case — Citizens for Responsibility & Ethics in Wash. v. U.S. Dep’t of Justice.  Succeeding posts will critique […]

Retreating on Affirmative Disclosure: The Case of APHIS’s Publicly-Available Enforcement Databases

by Bernard Bell — Wednesday, Apr. 24, 2019

Summary:  This post chronicles a story of enforcement failure, shaming remedies, and replacement of proactive disclosure with reactive disclosure.  In February 2017, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (“APHIS”) “took down” publicly-available databases and re-populated them with significant redactions.  The D.C. Circuit recently opined on APHIS’s action in PETA v. U.S. Department of Agriculture. […]

Chevron and FOIA Exemption 3 Statutes

by Bernard Bell — Saturday, Apr. 20, 2019

Summary:  Recently, in Wolk Law Firm v. U.S., — F.Supp.3d —, 2019 WL 1528433 (E.D. Pa. April 9, 2019), a federal district judge held that a passenger cell phone recording of a cockpit was a “cockpit voice and video recorder recording” that the NTSB could withhold from a FOIA requester.  In doing so, the judge […]

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 […]