12 Days of Open Government Resolutions – Day 11: Stop Secret Law

Each post in the series of posts we plan to publish between now and December 25 focuses on a resolution the Obama Administration realistically can use to make the federal government more open and accountable in the coming year. See below for links to previous resolutions.

Open Government Resolution 11 for the Obama Administration – authoritative interpretations of law (e.g., FISA Court opinions, OLC memos, administrative rulings) available to the public with minimal redactions to safeguard classified information

The public must have access to significant interpretations of our country's laws in order for us to have an informed debate about the government's policies, and build a shared understanding of the rule of law. As then-Senator Russ Feingold said at a hearing in 2008 (as quoted in Secrecy News), "Secret law excludes the public from the deliberative process, promotes arbitrary and deviant government behavior, and shields official malefactors from accountability."

The Administration has a responsibility to make significant interpretations of the law, including FISA Court opinions, administrative court ruling, and legal memos from the office of Legal Counsel (OLC) available to the public to the maximum extent possible.

12 Days of Open Government Resolutions for the Obama Administration:

Resolution 1: Begin gathering public input for Version 2 of the US National Action Plan

Resolution 2: Make it easier for the public to track agencies’ open government work

Resolution 3: Encourage Agencies to Join FOIAOnline

Resolution 4: Direct Agencies to Update their FOIA Regulations

Resolution 5: Direct agencies to make all Reports to Congress and Communications with Members of Congress available in a central location on the agency website

Resolution 6: Direct all agencies that collect electronic visitor records to make them available to the public in an easy-to-search and downloadable format

Resolution 7: Direct agencies to make enough information available so that the public can have an informed opinion of what is "high-value" data

Resolution 8: Set up the White House-led classification Steering Committee recommended in the PIDB report

Resolution 9: Release the number of cases cut off from the courts by the use of the states secret privilege that were referred to agency IGs

Resolution 10: Protect people who blow the whistle on waste, fraud, abuse and illegality in the federal government

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