We all know about food stamps, right? I know it’s called SNAP now, as the government tries to rebrand it in such a way as to make users in the program not be made to feel bad about taking from other taxpayers, when they absolutely should.
Well, these hacks at Argus Media were presumably writing some story about people using the SNAP program, and submitted a FOIA request for information about the program, which included how much money individual stores were getting from the program.
At first, the USDA who manages SNAP declined to provide the requested information based on FOIA exemption three, which says they cannot disclose info that’s prohibited from being disclosed by federal law. But the lower courts were like, “What fucking law, exactly?”
So since they knew that was some bullshit, they went for exemption 4, which protects:
Trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential.
The courts had told the USDA to give over the information, and the USDA was all set to comply, but then these assholes at the Food Marketing Institute (FMI), believing they’d be harmed if this information was released, filed the appeal to block the information accordingly.
So here we are at SCOTUS trying to literally determine WTF “confidential” means.
First, SCOTUS decided that FMI had standing to sue, since they could incur damages if their competition found out the information being requested. Then they decided as such, the assholes at Argue didn’t need to know this information, and told them to get fucked. Confidential means something that company A has a legit purpose in hiding from company B, which this information would be.
6:3 judgement for FMI, with Ginsburg, Sotomayor, and Breyer dissenting on how they defined “confidentiality” while still siding to protect FMI.