The New York Times Company and the American Civil Liberties Union sought records under the federal Freedom of Information Act detailing the U.S. government’s policies for when it can conduct drone strikes and when it can kill a U.S. citizen. In particular, the Times and the ACLU sought memos prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel, which provides legal advice to the President. After the government refused to release the records, the Times and the ACLU sued.
In December 2012, the U.S. Marshals Service announced a new policy that blocks the public release of federal booking photographs pursuant to federal Freedom of Information Act cases. The Reporters Committee's letter, joined by 37 other media organizations, asks the Department of Justice to rescind the new policy, as it violates established case law in the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit that entitles individuals to obtain mug shots under FOIA for indicted defendants who have made a public court appearance and whose criminal proceeding is ongoing.
Media organizations in 2008 sought the release of a proffer statement given by Leonard Lawson in 1983 when Kentucky officials were investigating antitrust allegations. Lawson sued to enjoin the release of the record, arguing that the privacy and law enforcement exemptions of the state public records law applied. The trial court held that neither exception was applicable, ordering the release of the document. Lawson argues that the privacy exception should apply because the time lapse between when the document was created and when it was created increases the privacy harm.
After two non-state residents requested records under Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act, Virginia officials denied the requests because they were not citizens of Virginia. The first, a former Virginian, was seeking records about delinquent child support payments he was due. The second, a California businessman, was seeking records for his data brokerage firm. After both requests were denied, the parties filed a lawsuit arguing that the VFOIA's citizenship requirement violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause and Dormant Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The Center for International Environmental Law brought suit under the Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA") seeking the disclosure of government records relating to a failed round of trade negotiations. The government withheld a document under FOIA's Exemption 1, which permits federal agencies to withhold information that has been properly classified. The trial court ordered the release of the document, holding that the government had failed to show that releasing the document would cause harm to national security or foreign policy interests. The government appealed to the U.S.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press sent a letter to Department of Justice officials urging them to immediately abandon an apparent internal policy of ordering journalists not to record or quote its attorneys’ statements at public meetings.
RCFP, along with eleven other organizations, signed on to an amicus brief in a case before the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia urging the court to find that U.S. Secret Service White House complex visitor logs are "agency records" under the federal Freedom of Information Act and that the Secret Service is required to process a request for such records in compliance with FOIA.
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press filed a letter brief in support of California resident Michael Chwe's petition to the California Supreme Court for review of a lower court ruling allowing a public employee who is the subject of a public records request to preemptively file a lawsuit challenging an agency's decision to release the record. If such a ruling is allowed to stand, it will have the effect of reversing the presumption of public access to records in the state by forcing the public to demonstrate at the outset why a particular record should be disclosed.
HB 62 proposes an amendment to the current exemption for “research projects” in Maryland's public information act that would allow public universities to withhold from disclosure wide categories of records "produced or collected by" faculty members.
Urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (New Orleans) to hold that the criminal sanction provisions of the Texas Open Meetings Act are not an unconstitutional restraint on government officials' First Amendment rights.
Urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit to hold that the Family Educational Rights & Privacy Act is not a valid basis to withhold records under the Illinois open records laws related to official university misconduct regarding a secret preferred admissions process for privileged applicants.
Urging the Ohio Supreme Court to find that country recorders cannot impose a $2 per page statutory "photocopying" fee for electronic copies of public records and that such records must be provided "at cost" as required under the Ohio public records law.
Urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit to rehear en banc a three-judge panel decision finding that a federal prisoner's privacy interest in his mug shot outweighs the public interest in its disclosure such that it may be withheld under exemption 7(C) to FOIA.