University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name James Madison Project (Daily Beast) v. U.S. Department of Justice NS-DC-0106
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-00390 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) National Security
Presidential Authority
Special Collection Trump Administration FOIA cases
Case Summary
On Mar. 3, 2017, plaintiffs The James Madison Project and Noah Shachtman sued the defendant agencies under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The James Madison Project (JMP) is an organization established "to promote government accountability of reduction of secrecy, as well as [to educate] the ... read more >
On Mar. 3, 2017, plaintiffs The James Madison Project and Noah Shachtman sued the defendant agencies under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The James Madison Project (JMP) is an organization established "to promote government accountability of reduction of secrecy, as well as [to educate] the public on issues relating to intelligence and national security." Noah Shachtman is the current Executive Editor of news website The Daily Beast.

Plaintiffs sought disclosure of agency records by the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), as well as by DHS's subordinate entities: the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Specifically, plaintiffs sought the disclosure of records that would shed light on the degree to which (if at all) the defendant federal agencies were consulted prior and subsequent to the implementation of President Trump's Jan. 27 Executive Order 13769 (EO).

The complaint alleged that on Jan. 31, 2017, plaintiffs submitted a FOIA request to the defendant federal agencies seeking copies of records that memorialize the following:
1. Discussions between defendant agency staff and private/White House staff regarding the legality and implementation of an EO barring entry of foreign nationals based strictly on nationality;
2. Discussions between defendant agency staff and other federal agency staff regarding such an EO;
3. Discussions among defendant agency staff regarding such an EO;
4. Discussions between defendant agency staff and Members of Congress regarding such an EO;
5. Final determinations by defendant agency staff regarding the extent to which such an EO would apply to U.S. citizens with dual citizenship; and
6. Final determinations by defendant agency staff regarding the legality of such an EO.

The complaint further alleged that, to date, plaintiffs had not received a substantive response from any of the defendant agencies, and that plaintiffs had constructively exhausted all required administrative remedies. Plaintiffs sought a disclosure order under FOIA, legal fees, and expedited action.

(That same day, the James Madison Project and staff of Politico also filed another FOIA lawsuit seeking intra- and inter-agency communications relating to communications between DHS's agencies and airlines. That lawsuit is described here.)

On Mar. 3, the case was assigned to Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly.

On Mar. 6, 2017, the President rescinded the Jan. 27 EO and replaced it with a narrower one, Executive Order 13780.

On May 8, plaintiffs requested leave to file the first amended complaint. The amended complaint alleged that, on Mar. 24, 2017, plaintiffs submitted a FOIA request to the defendant agencies seeking the same information that they sought in the original Jan. 31 FOIA request, but clarified that the scope of information should encompass both EOs. Plaintiffs specifically asked that the defendant agencies use, but not limit themselves to, the search terms "religious test," "Christian ban," "Jewish ban," and "Muslim ban." Plaintiffs further alleged that, to date, they had not received a substantive response from any of the defendant agencies. Plaintiffs sought a disclosure order under FOIA, legal fees, and expedited action.

On Jun. 16, the parties filed a joint status report noting that all defendant agencies had received and were processing plaintiffs' FOIA requests. The TSA had completed its processing of the request; the parties were not able to provide estimated release dates for the rest of the agencies. On Jul. 21, the parties filed a joint status report indicating that the government had initiated searches for the requested documents, that some responsive materials had already been produced, and that the parties were conferring regarding the remaining documents. On Sept. 5, the parties filed another status report indicating that the government continued to make progress on its searches, and that the parties conferred about the scope of the plaintiffs' request.

The most recent status report, of Jan. 19, 2018, stated that DHS was processing approximately 600 potentially responsive records, and 600 others which it would review for responsiveness.

Though the documents released by the government are not available online, this news article references some of their contents. This case is ongoing.

Julie Aust - 11/24/2017
Ava Morgenstern - 01/19/2018
Virginia Weeks - 02/12/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Defendant-type
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
Religion discrimination
General
Confidentiality
Record-keeping
Records Disclosure
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Immigration/Border
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Status/Classification
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. § 552
Defendant(s) U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
U.S. Customs and Border Protection
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Department of Justice
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
U.S. Transportation Security Administration
Plaintiff Description The James Madison Project ("JMP") is an organization established in 1998 "to promote government accountability and the reduction of secrecy, as well as [to educate] the public on issues relating to intelligence and national security." Noah Shachtman is the current Executive Editor of The Daily Beast.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Case Ongoing Yes
Case Listing NS-DC-0115 : James Madison Project (Daily Beast) v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D.D.C.)
Additional Resources
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  Trump’s DHS Ordered Agents to Block Congressmen During Travel Ban
www.thedailybeast.com
Date: Aug. 2, 2017
By: Woodruff, Betsy (The Daily Beast)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Trump’s DHS Ordered Agents to Block Congressmen During Travel Ban [The Daily Beast]
www.thedailybeast.com
Date: Aug. 2, 2017
By: Woodruff, Betsy (The Daily Beast)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:17-cv-00390 (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0106-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/19/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
NS-DC-0106-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/03/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order Establishing Procedures [ECF# 3] (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0106-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/06/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs' Motion for Leave to File First Amended Complaint [ECF# 6]
NS-DC-0106-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/08/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
FOIA Requests from James Madison Project [ECF# 5-1, 5-2, 5-3, 5-4, 5-5]
NS-DC-0106-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/12/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Answer [from Defendant Regarding Amended Complaint] [ECF# 8]
NS-DC-0106-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/24/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Status Report [ECF# 11]
NS-DC-0106-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/16/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Status Report [ECF# 12]
NS-DC-0106-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/21/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Status Report [ECF# 13]
NS-DC-0106-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/05/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Status Report [ECF# 14]
NS-DC-0106-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/06/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Status Report [ECF# 15]
NS-DC-0106-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/19/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Kollar-Kotelly, Colleen (FISC, D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0106-0003 | NS-DC-0106-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Moss, Bradley Prescott (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0106-0001 | NS-DC-0106-0002 | NS-DC-0106-0004 | NS-DC-0106-0006 | NS-DC-0106-0007 | NS-DC-0106-0008 | NS-DC-0106-0009 | NS-DC-0106-0010 | NS-DC-0106-9000
Zaid, Mark S. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0106-0004 | NS-DC-0106-0006 | NS-DC-0106-0007 | NS-DC-0106-0008 | NS-DC-0106-0009 | NS-DC-0106-0010
Defendant's Lawyers Berns, Matthew (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0106-0005 | NS-DC-0106-0006 | NS-DC-0106-0007 | NS-DC-0106-0008 | NS-DC-0106-0009 | NS-DC-0106-0010 | NS-DC-0106-9000
Readler, Chad A. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0106-0005 | NS-DC-0106-0006 | NS-DC-0106-0007 | NS-DC-0106-0008 | NS-DC-0106-0009 | NS-DC-0106-0010
Shapiro, Elizabeth J. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0106-0005 | NS-DC-0106-0006 | NS-DC-0106-0007 | NS-DC-0106-0008 | NS-DC-0106-0009 | NS-DC-0106-0010

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