Other Cases of Interest

  • United States v. Navarro (D.C. Circuit 2024). This D.C. Circuit per curiam opinion affirms a lower court decision ruling that the Department of Justice can use a D.C. replevin law to obtain presidential records retained by a former presidential aide, Peter Navarro. Mr. Navarro had refused to provide to the National Archives copies of emails from a private email account addressing official matters, contending the Presidential Records Act failed to include any enforcement mechanism to obtain presidential records. By upholding the right of the executive branch to replevin presidential records from a former official, this ruling makes it easier for Congress to obtain those same records from the National Archives. Read the D.C. Circuit opinion. Read the affirmed District Court opinion.
  • In re Search of Information Stored at Premises Controlled by Twitter (D.C. Circuit 2024).  This D.C. Circuit per curiam court order denied a petition for a rehearing en banc of a panel decision upholding a search warrant issued by Special Counsel Jack Smith to obtain certain Trump communications from X Corp. (formerly known as Twitter). While no judge had requested a vote on the petition, four judges attached to the order a joint “statement” highlighting the importance of executive privilege and criticizing the panel decision for allowing the prosecutor to circumvent executive privilege protections by obtaining the Trump communications directly from Twitter instead of from the National Archives which would have required notice to former President Trump and an opportunity to assert privilege. The judicial statement on executive privilege may affect congressional information requests related to a sitting or former president.  Read the Appeals Court Order.  Read the Appeals Court Panel Opinion.
  • TransUnion v. Ramirez (Supreme Court 2021).The Supreme Court held that Congress could not create standing for a private party to sue in court simply by enacting a statute granting a private right of action; the private party must establish not just an “injury in law,” but also a “concrete injury in fact” closely related to a harm “traditionally” recognized as providing a basis for a federal lawsuit. By narrowing Congress’ authority to shape federal court jurisdiction, this ruling may make it more difficult for Congress to establish standing for itself by enacting a statute authorizing its committees to file suit in federal court.  Read the Supreme Court opinion. Read the Appeals Court opinion.
  • Judicial Watch v. Schiff (D.C. Circuit 2021). The D.C. Circuit held, in a 3-1 panel opinion, that the Speech or Debate clause requires dismissal of a Judicial Watch lawsuit to obtain copies of subpoenas issued by a House committee during an impeachment inquiry. A concurrence also suggested that the court consider a new approach that would balance congressional immunity against a common law right of access to public records, but noted the case had not adequately presented the issue to the court for review. Read the Appeals Court Opinion. Read affirmed District Court Opinion.
  • Cause of Action Institute v. Commerce Dept. (D.D.C. 2020). A group of eight bipartisan Senators filed an amicus brief in a FOIA lawsuit by a public interest organization to obtain a Commerce Department report on automobile tariffs, noting that the report was required by law to be printed in the Federal Register and disputing the agency’s authority to defy the law based upon an opinion issued by the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel. Read Amicus Brief. Read District Court Opinion.
  • Wittes v. Trump (D.D.C. 2020).  Two researchers and a public interest organization filed suit to compel the Trump Administration to send to Congress and release to the public a report required by law on the Administration’s legal and policy frameworks for exercising military force.  No report was filed by the March 1, 2020 statutory deadline. The suit was dismissed after the Trump Administration released the report in October 2020.   Read the Complaint.
  • House v. Mnuchin (D.C. Circuit 2020). On September 25, 2020, the D.C. Circuit Court held that the House has standing to seek a court order to stop the President from diverting appropriated funds to unauthorized spending on a border wall, overruling a lower court decision dismissing the lawsuit. The 3-judge appellate panel held that, just as the House has standing — without the Senate — to seek enforcement of a House subpoena, it has standing to seek enforcement of its Constitutional authority over the power of the purse. Read Appeals Court OpinionRead overruled District Court Opinion.
  • Doyle v. Department of Homeland Security (D.C. Circuit 2020) D.C. Circuit Court opinion finding that White House visitor logs once under the control of the Secret Service but then transmitted to the Executive Office of the President are not “agency records” subject to FOIA requests.  This ruling will make it more difficult for Congress to oversee presidential actions. Read Appeals Court Opinion. Read District Court Opinion.
  • CREW v. Trump (D.D.C. 2020). D.C. District Court ruled that, due to the wording of the relevant statute and D.C. Circuit precedent, courts are without authority to compel presidential compliance with the Presidential Records Act. This ruling will make it more difficult for Congress to oversee presidential actions. Read District Court Opinion.