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Advocates for the West v. United States Department of Justice

ELR Citation: 48 ELR 20141
Nos. 1:17-cv-00423-DCN, (D. Idaho, 08/06/2018) (Nye, J.)

A district court denied an environmental group's motion for summary judgment challenging DOJ's withholding of legal memos concerning the president's authority to shrink national monuments under the Antiquities Act. The group argued that DOJ had no reasonable justification for withholding the memos and that the memos didn't fall under FOIA's presidential privilege because they weren't created for fulfilling core presidential powers but rather to explain the president's statutory duty. But the court concluded that the presidential communications privilege is not limited only to quintessential Article II powers and that the agency properly invoked this privilege. The court therefore denied the group's motion for summary judgment and granted the agency's motion for summary judgment.