Assuming we’ve all heard of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Right? Right! Well, there’ s an exemption for certain types of information which can be requested. One exemption, known as exemption 5, is for the “deliberative process privilege.”
Basically, it means that the agency, when considering a law, may speak candidly as they hash out how to draft a regulation, and they may say things people find bothersome as they make such deliberations, but that’s just part of the creative process. If regulators know their candid conversations would be open to the public, it could stifle that process and lead to a shitty regulation-writing process, rendering these groups more useless than they already are, and thus the exemption was written to protect that.
FOIA is more about delivering data, not people’s candid conversations and ideas.
Well, the environmental Karen’s at the Sierra Club filed a FOIA request for documents of that nature from USFAWS regarding a process to write regulations on the ability for US companies to use river water to cool machinery. Since some procedures to do that, put fish and other wildlife in that water at risk of getting sucked into the equipment, they wanted to know about that shit.
The USFAWS, citing exemption 5, told the Sierra assholes to eat a bag of dicks. Basically, their argument is, this information was them just hashing out how to draft a regulation, and the only thing that should matter to Sierra and the fish, is the data and the actual regulation. Not the things they considered but threw out. Being offended by this, the Sierra Club decided to challenge exemption 5, so here we are.
In a 7:2 decision where Kagan joined the right-leaning majority, they decided that the Sierra Club can kiss their lilly white asses, and Thomasses less than white ass too, while they’re at it. Drafts of a regulation are deliberative in their very nature, and thus full under the Exemption 5 rule.
Hear oral arguments or read about the case here, on Oyez.com.