EPIC Urges U.S. Supreme Court to Recognize Narrow Scope of FOIA Exemption for Deliberative Documents

August 3, 2020

In an amicus brief, EPIC has urged the Supreme Court to cabin agency use of the deliberative process privilege to withhold documents from FOIA requesters. The case, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club, concerns opinions from two federal agencies about a proposed EPA rule. Parts of the agencies’ opinions and recommendations were transmitted to the EPA, and the EPA revised its rule based on this information. Nevertheless, the agencies claim that the documents are deliberative and refused to disclose them under the FOIA. EPIC’s brief argues that “agencies have taken an unjustifiably broad view of the deliberative process privilege, often improperly withholding documents that are clearly not deliberative.” EPIC has many years of experience litigating FOIA cases, and provided the Court with examples where agencies have taken an overbroad view of the privilege, such as EPIC v. DOJ (Predictive Policing Report) and EPIC v. DOJ (Warrantless Wiretapping Memoranda). EPIC regularly litigates FOIA cases and files amicus briefs on open government issues.

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