MFIA has litigated cases addressing a wide range of issues affecting the work of journalists and the transparency of governments. Our current docket is organized around five project areas:

Constitutional Right of Access:

Establishing and enforcing the public’s First Amendment right of access to government places, proceedings, and actions, and the related records.  Projects currently include lawsuits to establish the public’s right to know the source of drugs used in lethal injection executions, a qualified constitutional right to classified information used in court proceedings, and limitations on sealed cases in federal courts. 

Government Accountability:

Pursuing FOI litigation for access to information that improves government transparency, promotes public understanding, and enables democratic accountability. Typical projects include current cases to improve accountability of law enforcement agencies, to inform the public about the proponents of positions taken by the U.S. in trade negotiations, and to reveal the government’s positon on the legal bases for closing proceedings of the Military Commissions at Guantanamo to the public. 

National Security and Surveillance:

Asserting both statutory and constitutional rights of access to the information and proceedings needed for meaningful public oversight of our nation’s security policies and actions.  Current lawsuits with intelligence agencies address issues of privacy, access to and control over communications infrastructure, and the legal obligations of intermediaries relating to national security investigations.

Open Data:

Pursuing litigation and developing policy initiatives to achieve open access to the data and algorithms on which government decisions are made, and to promote government decision-making based on sound science.  Current efforts include litigation against the FDA to compel access to the research data on which approval was granted for a new class of hepatitis C drugs.

Newsgathering Rights & Free Speech:

Adapting to new digital realities the long-recognized rights of journalists, and enforcing legal principles that preserve the flow of vital information to the public. Current projects include amicus efforts advocating for the recognition of a constitutional right to record matters of public concern.