Federal District Court Judge Royce Lamberth has said what many civil libertarians have long thought. According to Politico …
Speaking at a conference for federal employees who process Freedom of Information Act requests, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth said his fellow jurists usually rubber-stamp agency claims that disclosing information would jeopardize national security.
“It bothers me that judges, in general, are far too deferential to Exemption 1 claims,” Lamberth said, referring the language in FOIA that allows for withholding of information classified pursuant to an executive order. “Most judges give almost blind deference on Exemption 1 claims.”
Judge Lamberth, a graduate of the University of Texas, was appointed to the bench by Ronald Reagan in 1987. He previously served as an Army JAG officer and as a federal prosecutor. His recent decisions have included ordering the release of Richard Nixon’s testimony concerning the Watergate scandal and controversially issuing an injunction to prevent the Obama administration from destroying embryos used in stem cell research. In the case of Cobell v. Salazar, a landmark lawsuit by Native Americans against the U.S. Government, Lamberth – the presiding judge – was famously forcibly removed from the case by the Circuit Court of Appeals after he repeatedly sided with the tribal plaintiffs and even held George W. Bush’s Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton in contempt of court.