For Immediate Release
Contact: Frank DiFulvio 202-628-8410
March 11, 2004
Additional contacts on attached sheet. The U. S. Supreme Court Asked to Reject the Government's Claim That it May Conduct the Public's Business in Secret
(Washington D.C.) -- The U. S. Supreme Court should "reject the government's claim that it may conduct the public's business in secret" according to a "friends of the court" (amici curiae) brief submitted today by four leading library associations, a national archival association, and five public interest organizations in support of the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch, Inc. in the case of Richard B. Cheney, Vice President of the United States, et. al., v. U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
The case concerns the request by the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch for disclosure of whom, outside of the government, participated in the vice president's National Energy Policy Development Group. Vice President Cheney has refused to disclose any information about the group.
In 2002, the federal district court granted the motions of the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch to proceed with discovery about the makeup of the task force. The government appealed the case to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, which in July 2003 refused to overturn the lower court's order. The government then petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case, which it agreed to do in December 2003.
The amici joining in this brief share the conviction that broad access to government records protects values essential to representative democracy and promotes public participation in public policy. They hold that "public participation in government can be meaningful only if the people know what officials are doing, and how they are doing it. Equally, without that information the people can't hold public officials accountable for their actions."
The amici are the American Association of Law Libraries, the American Library Association, the Association of Research Libraries, the Center for American Progress, Common Cause, the National Security Archive, People for the American Way Foundation, the Society of American Archivists, and the Special Libraries Association.
The brief can be found at http://www.aallnet.org/aallwash/br03112004.pdf Press Release Contact List:
American Association of Law Libraries
Robert L. Oakley, Director of the Law Library and Professor of Law
Georgetown University Law Center
Edward Bennett Williams Library
American Library Association
Patrice McDermott, Deputy Director, Office of Government Relations
Association of Research Libraries
Prudence S. Adler, Associate Executive Director
(202) 296-2296 x104 (phone)
Center for American Progress
Mark David Agrast, Senior Vice President for Domestic Policy
Mary Boyle, Press Secretary
National Security Archive
Meredith Fuchs, General Counsel
Sean Moulton, Senior Policy Analyst
(202) 234-8494 x201
Elliot Mincberg, Vice President, General Counsel, and Legal and Education
Society of American Archivists
Nancy Beaumont, Executive Director
Special Libraries Association
Douglas Newcomb, Director Public Policy