Supreme Court Takes Pass on Task Force Secrecy

WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 24, 2004) - The U.S. Supreme Court today refused to rule on whether Vice President Cheney must disclose information about the energy task force to the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch. The case now goes back to a lower court for further consideration.

"While not a clear-cut victory or loss for either side, the Supreme Court dealt a blow to citizens' right-to-know what our government is doing behind closed doors," said NRDC Senior Attorney Sharon Buccino. "As a result of the court's decision, the White House buys more time to keep secrets about Vice President Cheney's role in crafting a national energy policy that favors corporate special interests."

The Supreme Court's decision means that both lawsuits over the Cheney energy task force records now sit before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The Sierra Club/Judicial Watch case involves the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) while NRDC's lawsuit involves the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Oral argument in the NRDC case is expected in the fall.

Despite the legal saga, NRDC's lawsuit has so far produced more than 20,000 pages of task force records -- and more are due to be released next week.