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Case Name Doc Society v. Pompeo IM-DC-0066
Docket / Court 1:19-cv-03632 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Immigration and/or the Border
Speech and Religious Freedom
Attorney Organization Brennan Center for Justice
Case Summary
On December 5, 2019, Doc Society and the International Documentary Associate, U.S.-based documentary film organizations that host screenings and discussions with international partners, filed this lawsuit on behalf of themselves as well as their members and partners. The plaintiffs sued the U.S ... read more >
On December 5, 2019, Doc Society and the International Documentary Associate, U.S.-based documentary film organizations that host screenings and discussions with international partners, filed this lawsuit on behalf of themselves as well as their members and partners. The plaintiffs sued the U.S. State Department in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia under the Administrative Procedure Act. They objected to the State Department's new “registration requirement” that required applicants for U.S. visas from abroad to register their social media identifiers from a host of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The U.S. government additionally claimed the authority to disseminate the handles abroad. The plaintiffs claimed this requirement exceeded the Secretary of State’s authority under the Immigration and Nationality Act and violated their free speech and association rights. Represented by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, and the law firm Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, the plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, asking the court to declare the registration requirement to be unlawful and to enjoin the government from enforcing or relying on them. The case was assigned to Judge Timothy J. Kelly.

Specifically, the complaint alleged that the "registration requirement," which compels disclosure of even pseudonymous social media accounts, has chilled their freedom of expression by causing applicants to use social media less freely than they otherwise would, or refrain from using it entirely. For pseudonymous users in particular, who seek to speak anonymously about controversial issues in order to protect themselves or their families from retaliation, the plaintiffs claimed that the requirement conditioned their eligibility for U.S. visas on their readiness to surrender their online anonymity.

As of January 2020, the defendants have not filed an answer and no motions were pending. This case is ongoing.

Chandler Hart-McGonigle - 01/31/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Free Exercise Clause
Freedom of speech/association
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Immigration/Border
Visas - criteria
Visas - procedures
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Declaratory Judgment Act, 28 U.S.C. § 2201
Defendant(s) Department of Justice
Plaintiff Description Doc Society and International Documentary Association, two organizations that host events about documentaries
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Brennan Center for Justice
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Filed 12/05/2019
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
D.D.C.
01/17/2020
1:19-cv-03632-TJK
IM-DC-0066-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D.D.C.
12/05/2019
Complaint [ECF# 1]
IM-DC-0066-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Kelly, Timothy James (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Charlton, Leena M. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-0001 | IM-DC-0066-9000
Curnin, Paul (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-0001 | IM-DC-0066-9000
DeCell, Caroline M. (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-0001 | IM-DC-0066-9000
Diakun, Anna Natalia (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-0001 | IM-DC-0066-9000
Eichenberger, Sarah Lynn (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-0001 | IM-DC-0066-9000
Fallow, Katherine Amy (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-0001 | IM-DC-0066-9000
Jaffer, Jameel (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-0001 | IM-DC-0066-9000
Levinson-Waldman, Rachel (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-0001 | IM-DC-0066-9000
Panduranga, Harsha (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-0001 | IM-DC-0066-9000
Patel, Faiza (New York) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-0001 | IM-DC-0066-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cartier, Nicholas P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
IM-DC-0066-9000

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