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SCOTUS: Constitution doesn't protect FOIA access rights of state nonresidents

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Amy, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. Amy

    Amy Well-Known Member

    The Court issued its decision today in McBurney v. Young, unanimously upholding Virginia's FOIA provision that provides a right to access to public records only to citizens of the State. The Court held that neither the Privileges and Immunities or Commere Clauses were violated.

    The Court has limited Privileges and Immunities Clause protection to "fundamental" privileges or immunities of citizenship. According to the Court, nonresidents do not have a comparable need to that of residents for an accounting of actions of public officials. Therefore, the right to access to public information is not a fundamental privilege or immunity.

    One petitioner also argued that the Commerce Clause was violated because the law prevented him from engaging in his profession since he couldn't use FOIA to gain access to certain public records. The Court found that this provision did not regulate commerce or interfere with interstate markets so that the Commerce Clause was not implicated.

    Alabama, Delaware, Missouri, New Jersey and Tennessee have similar FOIA provisions.
     
  2. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    That is ridiculous and something which is a slap to what reporters do. If you have the money, you can just hire a citizen to get the records for you.
     
  3. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Freelance opportunity! If anyone needs to use my name for FOIA in California, I'll do it for a hundred bucks.
     
  4. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    Does seem kind of easy to work around. I'm sure you can get the local AP bureau to file requests.
     
  5. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    Yeah, but if you are at a mid-size paper doing an article on, say, funding for ACC basketball programs, you have a roadblock.
     
  6. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    Since a lot of people have trouble getting boxscores out of AP in a timely manner, I'm thinking that getting them to send some clerk down to the courthouse to file a form might be tough.

    This is a step on the road to opaque government, which will help lawmakers do the bidding of their corporate masters.
     
  7. cranberry

    cranberry Well-Known Member

    That's a pretty big stretch. The ruling establishes an obstacle for out-of-state requests in a handful of states, but it isn't a roadblock if you're willing to find a proxy.
     
  8. OTD

    OTD Active Member

    Right, but it just makes things harder, and for no discernible reason. And you don't think ALEC has similar bills sitting on someone's desk in a lot of other states, ready to be introduced?
     
  9. Starman

    Starman Well-Known Member

    Those pesky annoying humans keep getting in the way of the corporacitizens.

    The SC strikes another blow for their protection.
     
  10. da man

    da man Well-Known Member

    Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the free market at its best!
     
  11. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    OK, I'll bite ... and this ruling has what to do with corporations?
     
  12. LongTimeListener

    LongTimeListener Well-Known Member

    Presumably what's next is a ban on out-of-state money for election campaigns. It would only be consistent.
     
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