Thursday, May 2, 2013

McBurney v Young

     In this case, Mark McBurney and Robert Hurlbert were denied VFOIA (Virginia Freedom of Information Act) because they were not citizens. The VFOIA states that “all public records shall be open to inspection and copying by any citizen of the Commonwealth.” "After being denied, Petitioners filed a complaint against the respondents, the agencies which denied their VFOIA requests, with the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. Petitioners argued that the VFOIA’s citizens-only provision violated their rights under the Privileges and Immunities Clause, and Hurlbert’s rights under the dormant Commerce Clause. The District Court granted summary judgment for the agencies, which was affirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Petitioners now appeal, arguing that Virginia’s citizens-only restriction violates the dormant Commerce Clause because it discriminates against out-of state economic interests both facially and in effect, and also violates the Privileges and Immunities Clause because it creates an inequality in access to information. The Supreme Court’s decision in this case will impact whether a state is required allow all United States citizens to access their public records. "
     "The decision in this case will determine whether the VFOIA’s citizens-only provision is unconstitutional. If it is, all states will be required to allow equal access of public records to citizens from other states. Both sides disagree as to whether the citizens-only provision contains sufficient loopholes and exceptions to allow everyone who needs public information to obtain it and whether prohibiting the citizens-only provision would be too costly for the state."

"In an unanimous opinion delivered by Justice Alito, the Court held that Virginia’s FOIA does not violate the Privileges and Immunities Clause or the dormant Commerce Clause."

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