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Case Name James Madison Project (Daily Beast) v. 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 in 1998 "to promote government accountability of reduction of secrecy, as well as [to ... 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 in 1998 "to promote government accountability of reduction of secrecy, as well as [to educate] the public on issues relating to intelligence and national security." Noah Schactman is the current Executive Editor of The Daily Beast.

The 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, the plaintiffs sought the disclosure of records that will 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, the 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, the plaintiffs had not received a substantive response from any of the defendant agencies, and that the plaintiffs had constructively exhausted all required administrative remedies. The 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 Mar. 28, the defendants filed a consent motion to extend their time to respond to the plaintiffs' complaint. The following day, the court granted this motion.

On May 8, the plaintiffs requested leave to file the first amended complaint. The amended complaint alleged that, on Mar. 24, 2017, the 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. The 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." The plaintiffs further alleged that, to date, they had not received a substantive response from any of the defendant agencies. The plaintiffs sought a disclosure order under FOIA, legal fees, and expedited action.

On May 24, the government filed an answer to the second amended complaint. In it, the government acknowledged that its agencies had received all of the plaintiffs' FOIA requests and that the requests were being processed accordingly.

On June 5, the parties filed a consent motion requesting an extension to file their Joint Status Report on Jun. 16. On Jun. 16, the parties filed a joint status report noting that all defendant agencies have received and are processing the plaintiffs' FOIA requests. The TSA has completed its processing of the request; the parties are 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 has initiated searches for the requested documents, that some responsive materials have already been produced, and that the parties are conferring regarding the remaining documents. On Sep. 5, the parties filed another status report indicating that the government continues to make progress on its searches, and that the parties conferred about the scope of the plaintiffs' request. On Nov. 6, the parties filed an additional status report.

This case is ongoing. The next status report is due by Jan. 19, 2018.

Julie Aust - 11/24/2017


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Required disclosure
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Law-enforcement
Discrimination-basis
National origin discrimination
General
Confidentiality
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
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. ยง 552
Defendant(s) Various federal agencies
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.)
Docket(s)
1:17-cv-00390 (D.D.C.)
NS-DC-0106-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/05/2017
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]
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-0106-9000
Zaid, Mark S. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0106-0004 | NS-DC-0106-0006
Defendant's Lawyers Berns, Matthew (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0106-0005 | NS-DC-0106-0006 | NS-DC-0106-9000
Readler, Chad A. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0106-0005 | NS-DC-0106-0006
Shapiro, Elizabeth J. (District of Columbia)
NS-DC-0106-0005 | NS-DC-0106-0006

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