ARCHIVED: AALL Participates in Amicus Brief

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Press Release

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 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
(202) 662-9160

American Library Association
Patrice McDermott, Deputy Director, Office of Government Relations
(202) 628-8410

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
(202) 682-1611

Common Cause
Mary Boyle, Press Secretary

National Security Archive
Meredith Fuchs, General Counsel
(202) 994-7000

OMB Watch
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