The Dallas Morning News recently published quite a thorough article about the controversy surrounding Southern Methodist University (SMU) and their proposal to build/host the George W. Bush Presidential Library and policy institute. In a growing storm, the Society of American Archivists (SAA) has called on the University to reject the Bush library “unless the administration reverses an executive order that gives former presidents and their heirs the right to keep White House papers secret in perpetuity.” Especially worrisome for SAA and other library and academic groups is a provision allowing a president’s heirs to assert claims of executive privilege after his death, with no time limit.
SMU finds itself in the middle of a high-stakes battle for access to presidential records. After Bush signed Executive Order 13233, a still-pending lawsuit was brought by a group including the Society of American Archivists, watchdog group Public Citizen, the American Historical Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and the American Political Science Association.
Please read to the end of the article, as it includes a concise description of the Presidential Records Act and how it was changed by the Bush EO.
“SMU pressed to fight Bush’s secrecy.” The Dallas Morning News. Monday, February 5, 2007. Todd J. Gillman.