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796.20 - FOIA Seminar
Professor: Sanford N. Caust-Ellenbogen
Semester: 2011 Autumn
Second Writing Requirement? Yes
Professional Responsibility? No
Means of Assessment: Class Participation and Paper
Special Notes: Satisfies Writing Requirement
Federal and state governments are required to provide information in their possession to interested members of the public. It was thought that this would improve transparency in government functioning. Althought this goal was often not achieved, practice under the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) has gotten more complicated and contentious in recent years. In particular, anti-terrorism programs have both heightened interest in government information-gathering programs and impelled the government to withhold access to information.
FOIA matters crop up in a wide variety of situations, affecting agency practice as well as private practice. Although often associated with journalism, FOIA has relevance to many areas of practice, including civil litigation and public interest litigation. Unfortunately, it is one of those areas of law that tends not to be covered elsewhere in the law school curriculum. This seminar provides an opportunity to explore this important and complicated subject. We will cover the major aspects of FOIA, paying particular attention to the various exceptions to disclosure. Each student will prepare and present a researched paper dealing with a relevant topic of her choice.
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