DOJ Arguments “Inconsistent with the Purpose of the FOIA” and More: FRINFORMSUM 8/4/2016

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aila Agencies can’t redact non-responsive information not covered by a specific exemption.

A recent FOIA ruling from the D.C. Circuit found that agencies can’t withhold non-responsive information from a record if there is no basis for exempting the information. Specifically, the panel found “no statutory basis for redacting ostensibly non-responsive information from a record deemed responsive.” The ruling, which was made in a case seeking information about immigration judge complaints, further noted that “Under the statutory framework, once the government concludes that a particular record is responsive to a disclosure request, the sole basis on which it may withhold particular information within that record is if the information falls within one of the statutory exemptions from FOIA’s disclosure mandate. But the government in this case… redacted discrete information within the records on the basis of non-responsiveness even if no statutory exemption shielded the information from disclosure. That approach cannot be squared…

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