The Supremes Take a Rare State FOI Case…

Tony Mauro’s excellent synopsis

United State Supreme Court Building

United State Supreme Court Building (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

does a nice job of underscoring the stakes here, in which the High Court takes up Virginia’s “residents-only” FOI clause:

The Supreme Court agreed on Oct. 5 to review a Virginia case that could put a stop to the increasing balkanization of state freedom-of-information laws.

At issue in McBurney v. Young is a provision of the Virginia FOI law that limits access to state documents under the law to Virginia residents — though it makes an exception for out-of-state news outlets that circulate or broadcast within the commonwealth. A growing number of other states, including Arkansas, Tennessee, New Hampshire and Georgia, have similar provisions or policies restricting access to state residents only.

News organizations and good-government groups have joined the case to make a strong argument that the law impedes reporting and public accountability. But they, the plaintiffs and other participants in the case have also framed the law as an infringement on the national “information industry” — potentially a winning argument before a pro-business Court.

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