|Submitted||Sept. 19, 2018|
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To Whom It May Concern:
Pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, I hereby request the following records:
A screenshot of the Judicial Law Clerks' Forum, contained at https://eoirnet/sites/eoir/OCIJ/GuidanceandPublications/Pages/JLC-Forum.aspx
The requested documents will be made available to the general public, and this request is not being made for commercial purposes.
In the event that there are fees, I would be grateful if you would inform me of the total charges in advance of fulfilling my request. I would prefer the request filled electronically, by e-mail attachment if available or CD-ROM if not.
Thank you in advance for your anticipated cooperation in this matter. I look forward to receiving your response to this request within 20 business days, as the statute requires.
An acknowledgement letter, stating the request is being processed.
To Whom It May Concern:
I wanted to follow up on the following Freedom of Information Act request, copied below, and originally submitted on Sept. 19, 2018. Please let me know when I can expect to receive a response. You had assigned it reference number #2018-51080.
Thanks for your help, and let me know if further clarification is needed.
Matthew, please see response for 2018-51080. Wr/JRS
The rejection makes little sense. First, there is no meaningful explanation for why the screenshot can't be redacted. The request was for a screenshot of a message board or forum where Judicial Law Clerks write messages to each other. While some of that information may be about specific cases and need to be redacted, some of it contains gossip, discussions about attorneys, and other information that is not protected or privileged.
Second, given that the Judicial Law Clerks are writing to a forum accessible by all other judicial law clerks about information purportedly about immigration court cases, they have no personal "privacy interest" in what they've written there under b6. It should be treated no differently than when a federal employee sends e-mail to another federal employee.
Third, the rejection letter says judicial law clerks are engaged "primarily" in research for immigration judges and writing decisions. The word "primarily" indicates other things are being discussed there. Even discussions about specific cases can be redacted to remove information identifying specific immigrants or to prevent disclosure of attorney work product or attorney-client privileged material.
Finally, the statement that "EOIR management does not moderate the Forum, and immigration judges do not have access" to it does not provide any colorable exemption to the FOIA. That the forum is not monitored or moderated is a strong indication there is more content there other than simply the discussion of specific cases or legal advice.
This message is to notify you of a new appeal submission to the FOIAonline application. Appeal information is as follows:
* Appeal Tracking Number: DOJ-AP-2019-000922
* Request Tracking Number: 2018-51080
* Requester Name: Matthew Hoppock
* Date Submitted: 11/08/2018
* Appeal Status: Submitted
* Description: EOIR appeal