FOIA, The Feds, and Checks & Balances|Tyler Ronconi 

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A federal judge is refusing to release a list of white house visitors to the general public (Gerstein 2018). This is a direct breach of the Freedom of Information Act. Judge Katherine Failla would not move away from a ruling made in 2013 that decided visitor records from the Obama White House are not subject to the FOIA. Just because it was ruled that then, doesn’t mean it was the right decision. The public deserves to know who is visiting the White House. Failla was appointed by President Barack Obama. She, however, remains consistent in her opinions. Even though this attempt to make records public is aimed at President Donald Trump, she still thinks it’s best not to release the information to the public. She has merit for consistency, but it is a time for a change.  

The public deserves to know who is visiting the White House. The Trump Administration was even subjected to lawsuits. These lawsuits made it so that the Trump administration had to release information to the general public. Failla, however, would remain steadfast. The Freedom oInformation Act’s main objective is to expose hidden aspects of our government. Just because the act is in place, doesn’t always mean the battle is easy. Sometimes lawsuits or other legal action needs to occur in order to expose the government. 

The FOIA is almost like another check and balance put in place to keep the U.S. government in check. As shown in Failla’s case, there are always people that try to fight the checks and balances. Just because FOIA exists doesn’t mean that everyone will adhere to it. This is just like the theory that laws are put in place because not everyone will do what is inherently right. FOIA is to insure that the government does what is inherently right and releases necessary information to the public. The government might argue it is for our own safety. The article suggests that the government keeps some visitor logs hidden for the safety of the general populous. If the government didn’t keep these logs hidden, there would be no such thing as FOIA. This is why the government appoints its own judges and attorneys. It is an attempt to fight back against the many checks and balances that are put into place.  

 It is a constant pushback from both sides when dealing with FOIA. Attorneys and judges will try to dismiss FOIA with other legal acts that can potentially negate the act. These seems to be commonplace. It is shown here, however, when the lawsuit becomes too much of a hassle, information is generally released. FOIA prompts such occurrences to happen. Without FOIA, the government would be getting over on its people much more. It is imperative that the act continues to remain a viable resource not only for journalists, but for the American people. The results will show. They have penetrated a steadfast judge a stubborn administration in this story. 


 Gerstein, J. (2018). Judge won’t order disclosure of Trump White House Visitor Logs. Retrieved from: