Other Cases of Interest
- 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 Opinion Read overruled District Court Opinion
- Maloney v. Murphy (D.C. Circuit 2020). On December 29, 2020, the D.C. Circuit Court held that 17 members of the House Oversight and Reform Committee (less than a majority) have standing to enforce an information request made to the General Services Administration under 5 U.S.C. 2954, overruling a lower court decision dismissing the lawsuit. This ruling makes it possible for a minority of the House Committee, as long as at least 7 members participate, to compel a federal agency to provide requested information. The statute provides the same right to compel information when requested by at least 5 members of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Read Appeals Court Opinion Read overruled 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.
CREW v. Trump (D.C. Cir. 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
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
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.
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.