Common Law and First Amendment Govern Access to Court Records
Participated in an amicus brief (with the Reporters Committee and other amici) filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in CNN v. FBI. The case stems from CNN’s FOIA request to the FBI for the Comey memos. It concerns access to a sealed declaration the FBI submitted in the resulting FOIA lawsuit to justify withholding the Comey memos. Following extensive legal proceedings, the FBI appealed the unsealing of one declaration (the “Archey Declaration”), citing the National Security Act and FOIA Exemption 3. The brief argues that the public’s right of access to the Archey Declaration is governed by common law and the First Amendment, not FOIA, and that applying FOIA’s exemptions to the release of court records does not comport with FOIA’s text or intent.