WASHINGTON (CN) – The Department of Justice adequately produced records on Justice Elena Kagan’s involvement “in drafting or opposing legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” in her capacity as solicitor general, a federal judge ruled, denying complaints filed by two news companies.
Media Research Center and Judicial Watch Inc. claimed that the DOJ released incomplete and wrongfully redacted records in response to their request under the Freedom of Information Act. They wanted records and communications to or from Kagan regarding pending legislative health care proposals, legal challenges to health care reform and the recusal of Kagan from any particular case because of the possibility that she might be confirmed as a federal judge on a court that could possibly rule over the legislation.
U.S. District Judge Ellen Huvelle ruled that the 45 pages of records released by the DOJ constituted an adequate response to the requests, backing the government’s argument that the withheld information was not agency record or it was protected by the deliberative process privilege.
The initial request for records on the subject was submitted by CNSNews.com, a division of the Media Research Center that has no affiliation with Courthouse News Service.
“In response to this request, DOJ searched the files of individuals at the OSG using the dates of S.G. Kagan’s tenure in that position and identified approximately 1,400 pages of potentially responsive materials,” Huvelle wrote, adding that the government later whittled down the number of pages to 45 with 25 pages containing redactions.
“In this case, DOJ properly relies upon a sufficiently detailed, non-conclusory declaration that demonstrates the adequacy of the search,” the 15-page decision states. Huvelle granted the government’s motion for summary judgment on Oct. 13.