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Government Records

Aug 2021

Pushing Back Against NYPD for Violations of Journalists’ Constitutional Rights

Mickey H. Osterreicher and Robert D. Balin

In a recently filed suit, five visual journalists are suing the NYPD for civil rights violations after each journalist was targeted, beaten, or arrested by NYPD officers while attempting to cover the 2020 George Floyd protests in New York City.

Jul 2021

Obfuscating Mercy: How The California Supreme Court Finally Addressed Secretive Pardons

Selina MacLaren and Thomas R. Burke

The new rule rejects the governor’s decades-old practice of automatically sealing clemency files, but places the onus on the public to move for unsealing.

Jun 2021

The Pentagon Papers 50 Years Later

George Freeman

Fifty years has not definitively resolved the impact and import of the Pentagon Papers case. Was it a monumental victory for the press? Was it a loss, since for the first time the courts imposed a prior restraint on a newspaper? Or was it an inconsequential one-off, since it hasn’t been a precedent for many…

Jun 2021

Social Media Blocking by Government Officials: Where Does the Law Stand?

Lyndsey Wajert

A look at how caselaw has developed since the Knight Institute filed the 2017 complaint against president Trump, and what factors courts consider in challenges to social media blocking by public officials.

Mar 2021

Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Fifth Circuit Addresses Growing Concern With Overbroad Sealing Practices

Evan M. Rios

The panel addressed a “peripheral-yet-essential point: Judicial records are public records. And public records, by definition, presume public access.”

Mar 2021

Court Unseals Government Docs in Prosecutor Misconduct Inquiry

Brian Barrett

A New York federal district court ordered the unsealing of government emails, text messages and other documents at the heart of an extraordinary prosecutorial misconduct inquiry involving the elite terrorism and international narcotics unit in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the SDNY.

Mar 2021

D.C. Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of CIA on Syria Program FOIA Request

Jeffrey Light

The appellate court’s “who-knows-for-sure” standard is rhetorically striking and illustrates the virtually unbridled deference courts give to federal agencies in FOIA cases involving national security.

Mar 2021

Judge Orders Release Under FOIA of Report on Sexual Abuse of Children at Federal Health Agency

Matthew E. Kelley

In consolidated cases brought by The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, a federal magistrate judge has ordered the federal government to make public a contractor’s report about mismanagement at the Indian Health Service that allowed a doctor to sexually abuse children for more than two decades.

Mar 2021

SCOTUS Sides with Fish & Wildlife Service in FOIA Battle

Gunita Singh

The Supreme Court held that opinions designated as drafts by an agency are protected from disclosure under Exemption 5 of the federal Freedom of Information Act, even when they serve as an agency’s last word on a proposed course of action.