A Collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh

Federal judge rules White House visitor logs are public records

[JURIST] A federal judge ruled [opinion, PDF; order, PDF] Monday that White House visitor logs are public documents [press release], rejecting a Bush administration bid to have the logs treated as confidential presidential records. Visitor logs are compiled by the Secret Service, and thus subject to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text] requests; the Bush administration had ordered that the logs be submitted to the White House, so that they would fall outside the domain of FOIA. Watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) [advocacy website] brought the lawsuit, seeking logs regarding the White House visits of prominent conservative religious figures, including James Dobson and Jerry Falwell. AP has more.

In October, US District Judge Ricardo Urbina ordered the Secret Service to release visitor logs [JURIST report] for the personal residence and office of Vice-President Dick Cheney. The order was issued following a lawsuit by the Washington Post, which requested the logs in June while researching White House ties to political lobbyists. The Justice Department filed an appeal against the order [JURIST report] last week.

12/18/2007 - In a second ruling [PDF text] issued Monday by US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth, the judge said that CREW could not seek an injunction [press release] preventing the Secret Service from destroying visitor logs after they are turned over to the White House.

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.