Campaign for Accountability v. Justice Department — Suit Seeking Disclosure of 'Secret Law'

The Knight Institute is representing the Campaign for Accountability in a lawsuit against the Department of Justice for failing to make publicly available binding legal opinions that govern the government and the public.

The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel provides “formal written opinions” to federal agencies on issues of significant public concern, ranging from warrantless surveillance to targeted killing of Americans on foreign soil to retirement benefits for federal employees. These formal opinions are the authoritative law of the government. But rather than disclosing to the public these legal opinions — as the Freedom of Information Act requires — the Justice Department chooses what to disclose on a case-by-case basis in its sole discretion.

On behalf of the Campaign for Accountability, the Knight Institute has asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to require the Justice Department to disclose all such legal opinions.