Freedom Foundation v. Gregoire

This court case is completed

Update October 17, 2013: The Washington Supreme Court ruled 8-1 that Governor Gregoire could assert executive privilege to justify withholding documents that would otherwise be disclosable under the Public Records Act. ACLU-WA filed an amicus brief in the Washington State Supreme Court in support of the Freedom Foundation, which sued Governor Chris Gregoire for not disclosing certain documents after a public records request, where her office claimed that the records were protected under executive privilege. From 2009-2012, the Freedom Foundation filed their own records requests for the documents that had previously been denied under executive privilege, a privilege asserted by the president of the United States and other high-level officials of the executive branches of government that permits them to not disclose their records and communication to the public. While most requested documents were produced, the governor’s office refused to provide five documents and produced one document where a handwritten note from Governor Gregoire was completely redacted. The Freedom Foundation sued Governor Gregoire in April 2011 in Thurston County Superior Court for not producing these particular documents, arguing that the withholding and redaction of the documents was a violation of Washington’s Public Records Act. The court ruled in favor of Governor Gregoire, and the Freedom Foundation appealed to the Washington State Supreme Court. ACLU-WA supported Freedom Foundation’s stance on the grounds that the use of executive privilege by the governor undermines the state’s Public Records Act and Washington’s Constitution. An amicus brief addressing these issues was filed with the Supreme Court on August 31, 2012. It was co-authored by ACLU-WA attorneys La Rond Baker and Rose Spidell.
Explore More: