Thursday, February 22, 2018
Am. Oversight v. DOJ, No. 17-848, 2018 WL 1015342 (D.D.C. Fed. 22, 2018) (Leon, J.)
Re: Request for records concerning Solicitor General
Disposition: Denying plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment
- Procedural Requirements, Expedited Processing: The court holds that "[defendant] correctly concluded that plaintiff had met its burden of showing that there was the necessary media interest concerning General Francisco's nomination, but that none of the articles raised any ethical issues concerning his nomination, or his work in the Solicitor General's Office, or for Jones Day." "As such, the Department reached the only conclusion supported by the plain meaning of the rule [28 C.F.R. § 16.5(e)(1)(i)–(iv) which "allows for expedited processing of FOIA requests concerning ' [a] matter of widespread and exceptional media interest  in which there exist possible questions about the government’s integrity  that affect public confidence,'"] and their existing precedent in analyzing it." "That decision was both reasonable and legally sound." Additionally, the court finds that "[t]he regulation does not ask whether possible questions exist that might or could – should they become known – affect public confidence in the government's integrity." "It asks whether there are possible questions as to the Government's integrity 'that affect public confidence,' full stop." "The primary way to determine whether such possible questions exist is by examining the state of public coverage of the matter at issue, and whether that coverage surfaces possible ethics issues so potentially significant as to reduce public confidence in governmental institutions."
Updated July 3, 2018