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U.S. Marshals Service Explains Why It Withheld 41 Pages of Documents in their FOIA Response

Fix the Court’s June 2016 FOIA request to the U.S. Marshals Service yielded 421 pages of information, 380 of which was sent to FTC on March 16. Now USMS is providing FTC with a description of 41 pages it’s withholding.

Pages 1-5 comprise an inventory of Justice Scalia’s personal property at his death compiled for law enforcement purposes, and, according to USMS, “its disclosure could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted […] invasion of personal privacy.”

A USMS attorney adds: “There is no public interest in disclosure of this information about Justice Scalia.” To that, we disagree, yet we do not believe that further litigation here is warranted.

Pages 6-41 comprise a planning document prepared by the USMS in anticipation of a July 2015 trip by one of the justices.  According to USMS, the document, marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” “contains detailed information […] about law enforcement techniques and procedures to be deployed in providing protection on this trip.”

USMS continues:

The document also contains information about the Justice in question and the Justice’s travel that could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of this person if disclosed.

[…D]isclosure of the format and contents of this kind of planning document could reasonably be expected to disclose law enforcement techniques and procedures.

To that we have no objection, for obvious reasons.

FTC filed a new FOIA with USMS on March 23 for information on the justices’ 2016-17 trips and for FY16-17 reimbursements made by the third branch to the Marshals Service.

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