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Pacific Legal Found. v. Council on Envtl. Quality

Citation: 10 ELR 20919
No. Nos. 79-1689, -1846, 636 F.2d 1259/15 ERC 1067/(D.C. Cir., 10/27/1980) Vacated

Vacating the judgment of the district court, 9 ELR 20610, the court holds that Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) regulations limiting the applicability of the Government in the Sunshine Act are invalid. CEQ is an "agency" within the meaning of the Sunshine Act even when functioning in the capacity of advisor to the President. The Sunshine Act mandates that all agency meetings remain open in their entirety.Therefore, CEQ's regulations that exempt meetings involving advice to the President from the open-meeting requirement are invalid. The court also rules that CEQ's regulations that limit open meetings to those where an affirmative vote of two members is required by statute, regulation, executive order, or internal Council procedures contravenes the Sunshine Act's definition of "meeting." Agency deliberations in which official agency business is conducted constitute a "meeting" within the statutory parameters, whether or not there has been a formal vote, and the Sunshine Act's open-meeting rule thus applies.

Counsel for Appellant
Sam Kazman, Ronald A. Zumbrun, Raymond M. Momboisse
Pacific Legal Foundation
1990 M St. NW, Suite 550, Washington DC 20036
(202) 466-2686

Counsel for Appellees
Frank A. Rosenfeld, Joseph B. Scott; Alice Daniel, Ass't Attorney General
Civil Division, Department of Justice, Washington DC 20530
(202) 633-3969

Charles F. C. Ruff, U.S. Attorney
U.S. Cthse., 3rd & Constitution Ave. NW, Washington DC 20001
(202) 633-4964

Before: McGOWAN and EDWARDS, Circuit Judges, and DANIEL M. FRIEDMAN,* Chief Judge, United States Court of Claims.