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Fast & Furious Reply

Fast & Furious Reply

Page 1: Fast & Furious Reply

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Number of Pages:4

Date Created:June 23, 2014

Date Uploaded to the Library:July 01, 2014

Tags:Reply, FOIA


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THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT 
FOR THE DISTRICT COLUMBIA  
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.,  
  Plaintiff,  Civ. No. 1:12-cv-1510 (JDB)       
U.S. DEPARTMENT JUSTICE, 
  Defendant.  
 
PLAINTIFFS REPLY SUPPORT ITS MOTION LIFT STAY 
 
 Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc., counsel, respectfully submits this reply support its motion lift the stay proceedings.1 grounds therefor, Judicial Watch states follows: The Department takes position Judicial Watchs request for oral argument. the Court grants Judicial Watchs request for oral argument, Judicial Watch respectfully informs the Court that undersigned counsel will traveling internationally from July 2014 July 25, 2014. 
MEMORANDUM LAW 
 Two years ago, June 22, 2012, Judicial Watch sent Freedom Information Act (FOIA) request the U.S. Department Justice (the Department) seeking access very specific set records.  Although the requested records were also requested the Committee Oversight and Government Reform the U.S. House Representatives (the Committee), the case before this Court FOIA case.  The issue whether the Department, pursuant FOIA Exemption properly withholding records responsive Judicial Watchs FOIA request.  That the only issue.  Contrary the Departments assertions, this case does not implicat[e] ongoing dispute between the political Branches over whether the Legislative Branch may access certain information that the Executive Branch has deemed necessary protect  dispute that 
resulted the assertion Executive Privilege the President.  Opposition Plaintiffs Motion Lift Stay (Opp.) 
 Judicial Watch does not challenge the Committees subpoena power.  Nor does Judicial Watch challenge whether the Department may assert privileges response Committees subpoena.   Nor does Judicial Watch challenge the specific privileges asserted the Department response the subpoena issue the House Committee litigation.  Judicial Watch only challenges the Departments determination summarily withhold all records responsive the June 22, 2012 FOIA request. 
 The Department argues that the stay should not lifted because nothing substantive has happened the House Committee litigation.  That the point.  Sixteen months have passed since the Court first stayed the proceedings, and the House Committee litigation closer resolution.  Minute Order, June 10, 2014, Committee Oversight Reform Eric Holder, Jr., No. 1:12-cv-1332-ABJ (D.D.C.) (After review the status report submitted the parties May 30, 2014, ordered that the parties shall meet and confer during the next three weeks effort resolve the remaining issues between them directly and that the case shall referred Senior United States District Judge Barbara Rothstein for mediation July 2014 for period thirty days the case has not been settled the interim. The motion for summary judgment remains under advisement and the case will not stayed.).  Contrary the Departments assertions, the Court did not grant the motion stay allow for the House Committee litigation reach final judgment. only granted stay to allow ongoing settlement discussions, and full settlement not reached, let the House Committee court rule the motion dismiss issue the April 24, 2013 hearing.  Stay Order  After 
months, settlement has been reached, and Judge Jackson did not grant the Departments motion dismiss. now time for this Court adjudicate the FOIA case before it. 
 The Committee also argues that the Court should not lift the indefinite stay based comments made counsel for the Attorney General oral argument the House Committee litigation, which are taken out context plaintiff.  Opp.  Judicial Watch however submitted the entire transcript the oral argument.  The Court may read for itself what counsel said.  Counsel informed Judge Jackson that the Department was withholding records response the Committees subpoena that could not  may not  withhold under ordinary FOIA case.  May 15, 2014 Transcript pp. 78-79 ([T]hese are materials that the ordinary course they were sought some FOIA whatever, may very well that wouldn't important enough for the  matter deliberation revealing something about deliberation for these documents attempt protected.).   
 The materials referred counsel are the very specific set records requested Judicial Watch under FOIA.  The Department determined summarily withhold them under FOIA Exemption  Judicial Watch subsequently imitated this lawsuit under FOIA challenging the withholdings the records.  This case does not get any more ordinary. run-of-the mill FOIA case. 
 Judicial Watch has patiently waited for its day Court, including twice agreeing further staying this action.  Now, based the issues addressed and the arguments made the May 15, 2014 hearing well the clear indication the June 10, 2014 Minute Order that the House Committee litigation nowhere close resolution, proceedings this case should resume.  The Department should required promptly produce Vaughn index all records 
responsive Judicial Watchs FOIA request that continues withhold.  The parties should then meet and confer, determine whether the issues before the Court may narrowed, and jointly propose briefing schedule for dispositive motions. 
 For the reasons set forth Plaintiffs opening memorandum and the additional reasons set forth above, Judicial Watch respectfully requests that the Court lift the indefinite stay proceedings. 
Dated:  June 23, 2014     Respectfully submitted,  
 
       /s/ Michael Bekesha   
       Michael Bekesha (D.C. Bar No. 995749) 
       JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. 
       425 Third Street S.W., Suite 800 
       Washington, 20024 
       (202) 646-5172 
        
       Counsel for Plaintiff