U.S. Supreme Court to Consider FOI Case

8 October 2012

The Supreme Court of the United States Oct. 5 said it will consider whether states can keep persons for other states from using their freedom of information laws.

The case involves the state of Virginia, which denied the use of the law to Mark J. McBurney of Rhode Island and Roger W. Hurlbert of California.

Hurlbert asked for property assessment information for his business.  McBurney was trying to information for a child support enforcement case against his ex-wife.

They appealed, arguing that citizens-only provision violates the U.S. Constitution, which says ‘‘citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.’’

Two federal appeals courts have issued opposing rulings. The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Delaware’s citizens-only law was unconstitutional. The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Virginia law’s limitations are legal.

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