Texas Wesleyan Law Review

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The Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA" or "the Act") serves an important purpose in informing the citizenry of its government's actions. Congress created it as a disclosure statute, the Supreme Court has decided FOJA in favor of disclosure, and the D. C. Circuit has kept that goal of disclosure by refusing to broaden its exemptions. Despite this history of consistent treatment, the Third Circuit attempted to change the game with its holding in AT&T v. FCC. The Third Circuit held that corporations may have personal privacy under FOIA Exemption 7(C). This paper will argue that this holding contradicted three FOIA principles established by Supreme Court decisions: (1) broad disclosure, narrow exemptions; (2) creating practical, workable standards; and (3) using Exemption 7(C) to protect the unique privacy interests of individuals. The manner of the Third Circuit's decision also created additional problems in interpretation and application of Exemption 7(C). Though overruled in the instant case, the Third Circuit's decision-making demonstrates a disregard for FOIA principles that could create problems in future cases.



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