Updates on cases, laws, and other topics of interest to local governments

Subscribe by Email

Enter your Email:
Preview | Powered by FeedBlitz

Subscribe in a Reader

Follow Municipal Minute on Twitter


Blog comments do not reflect the views or opinions of the Author or Ancel Glink. Some of the content may be considered attorney advertising material under the applicable rules of certain states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Please read our full disclaimer

Friday, April 17, 2020

Court Looks at "Deliberative Process" Exemption in Federal FOIA

A recent decision sheds light on the scope of FOIA deliberate process exemption relating to attorney communications about preliminary polices or actions in public records. National Immigrant Justice Center v. UnitedStates Department of Justice, No. 19-2088 (7th Cir. 2020).

The National Immigration Justice Center (“Center”) filed a FOIA request with the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) seeking certain communications between the Attorney General’s Office and any Office of Immigration Litigation or Office of Solicitor General attorneys relating to 11 certified immigration cases. The DOJ withheld 4,000 responsive pages under the federal FOIA’s "deliberative process" privilege exemption which protects attorney-client, work product, and deliberative communications

On appeal, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the DOJ properly withheld these records under the deliberative process exemption. Specifically, the records contained attorney suggestions on draft opinions and deliberative communications about certain decisions created at the stage when the Attorney General certifies immigration cases for a decision. Contrary to the Center’s argument, the withheld records were not ex parte communications, because there was no pending litigation when the documents were created.

Post Authored by Eugene Bolotnikov, Ancel Glink


Post a Comment