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Control of Presidential Records in the News

Presidential Records Act Stymied in Senate; ALAWASH Urges Action, Library Journal Academic Newswire, October 2, 2007.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY) has placed a bill that would rescind provisions of a controversial executive order restricting the release of presidential records on hold without explanation. Bunning said that "the president ought to have the right to withhold any records he chooses." The American Library Association’s Washington Office (ALAWASH) noted that "the records of the highest elected public office in the country, the President of the United States, belong to the people and are evidence of government activity."

Federal Judge Invalidates Order Allowing Former Presidents to Withhold Records, National Coalition of History, October 2nd, 2007.

On October 1, a federal district court judge gave historians and researchers a partial, but significant victory in a lawsuit questioning the legality of President George W. Bush’s Executive Order (EO) 13233, which broadened the rights of presidents and former-presidents to withhold federal records from the public. The judge struck down the section of the EO that allows a former president to indefinitely delay the release of records. However, Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly did not rule on the constitutionality of the Executive Order itself, narrowly crafting her decision to address only specific provisions in the order.

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