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DC court revisits Cheney energy task force

[JURIST] The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit [official website] is hearing arguments today in the legal fight over access to Vice President Dick Cheney's records from his 2001 energy task force [NRDC FOIA documents]. The Sierra Club [official website] and Judicial Watch [official website] are suing to additional task force records released, contending the public has a right to know the role the energy industry played in crafting the administration's energy policy. The Bush administration opposes any public release fearing such a release would prevent members of such panels from speaking candidly. The administration also maintains the task force was limited to government officials. Federal law requires government panels to conduct business in the public eye unless all of its members are government officials. This case was last considered by the appeals court in 2003 when a panel of judges rejected the government's arguments. However, the Supreme Court by a 7-2 vote [opinion] in June last year sent the case back to the appeals court saying the federal district judge who ruled against the Bush administration asked for too much information. The Court also said that the White House has to be protected from "vexatious litigation." As a result, the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch have narrowed the focus of the records they will seek. FindLaw offers briefs, lower court decisions, and related documents. AP has more.

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