The First Two Fix the Court FOIA Requests and Documents Received from the U.S. Marshals Service

How can we find out if Supreme Court justices are accurately reporting their reimbursed trips on their annual financial disclosure reports, and how can we ensure the justices have adequate security when they travel? FOIA the U.S. Marshals Service.


Here is FTC’s May and June 2016 FOIA request to USMS (initial request was narrowed), asking for the guidelines for protecting justices outside of D.C., the official reports on USMS-accompanied justice trips (called “Request for Special Assignment Resources”) in July 2015; and all documents on Justice Scalia’s Feb. 2016 travel to Texas: LINK

After not receiving a response to the June FOIA for more than a year, FTC filed suit against the Department of Justice, of which USMS is a part, in Oct. 2017. DOJ sent us the files below in Mar. 2018 after an agreement was reached among our attorneys, comprising 380 pages:

Pages 1-100 include: U.S. Marshals Service policies on when they protect the justices (pp. 1-2); list of July 2015 trips protecting the justices (p. 3); internal memos describing when protection has been requested, where and for whom; and the first batch of the “Request for Special Assignment Resources,” which detail who’s assigned to which justice when and include a (redacted) “reported threats” section (pp. 4-100)

Pages 101-200 include: more July 2015 Request for Special Assignment Resources (pp. 101-188); pre-trip report for Justice Scalia’s Feb. 2016 travel to West Texas (pp. 189-200)

Pages 201-275 include: more pre-trip communications about Scalia’s travel (pp. 201-207); USMS’ response (i.e., e-mails) to word that Scalia has passed away (pp. 208-275)

Pages 276-380 include: more USMS e-mails about the Scalia trip (pp. 276-371), plus comprehensive timeline of events and post-recovery report (pp. 372-380)

An additional 41 pages withheld in full are described below:

Pages 1-5 comprise an “inventory of Justice Scalia’s personal property at his death,” per a DOJ attorney, who continues: “This information was compiled for law enforcement purposes and its disclosure could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted and clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy. There is no public interest in disclosure of this information about Justice Scalia. There is no reasonably segregable information in this document not subject to redaction on the foregoing bases.” (Email from DOJ on file with FTC.)

Pages 6-41 comprises, according to the DOJ attorney, “a planning document prepared by the Marshals Service in anticipation of a trip upon which they were to accompany a Justice […],” though we’re not told which justice. “The document,” the attorney continues, “is marked ‘Law Enforcement Sensitive,’ [and] contains detailed information compiled for law enforcement purposes about law enforcement techniques and procedures to be deployed in providing protection on this trip. 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.” (Email from DOJ on file with FTC.)


Here is FTC’s Mar. 2018 request to the U.S. Marshals Service, asking for the “Request for Special Assignment Resources” for the justices’ 2016 and 2017 trips: LINK

The files we received, following another FOIA lawsuit, are below. Number zero is what DOJ sent us at first — merely the first pages of the “Request for Special Assignment Resources” reports, even though it was fairly clear we asked for the entire report for each justice’s trip. Productions 1-16 complete the 374 trip reports.

0. Nov. 2019: LINK

1. Jan. 2020: LINK

2. Feb. 2020: LINK

3. Mar. 2020: LINK

4. Apr. 2020: LINK

5. May 2020: LINK

6. June 2020: LINK

7. July 2020: LINK

8. Aug. 2020: LINK

9. Sept. 2020: LINK

10. Oct. 2020: LINK

11. Nov. 2020: LINK

12. Dec. 2020: LINK

13. Jan. 2021: LINK

14. Feb. 2021: LINK

15. Mar. 2021: LINK

16. Apr. 2021: LINK

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