Judicial Watch announced on Jan. 13 that it filed an appeal brief with the Delaware Supreme Court on behalf of itself and the Daily Caller News Foundation, asking it to overturn a lower court’s decision blocking release of records about the U.S. Senate records of President Joe Biden housed at the University of Delaware.
Biden’s papers include more than 1,850 boxes of archival records from his 36-year Senate career.
In July 2020 Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation filed a Delaware Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit after the university denied their April 2020 requests for all of Biden’s Senate records and for records about the preservation and any proposed release of the records, including communications with Biden or his representatives (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. University of Delaware, No. N20A-07-001 MMJ (Del. Super.)).
In its appeal brief Judicial Watch asks the court to review a Superior Court opinion issued in October 2022 that found the university had met its burden of performing an adequate search for the requested records. The opinion came after the university had submitted a second affidavit from the university’s FOIA official stating that no state funds had been spent on maintaining the documents.
Judicial Watch argues:
The Opinion should be reversed. The Supplemented Affidavit is nothing more than a document filled with stale hearsay and vague [assertions without proof] which at best shows that the University did not engage in a diligent effort, as required by law, to review Appellants’ Requests. Appellants identified the deficiencies and asked to vet the assertions themselves. The Superior Court, however, simply granted the University “do overs.” Even after multiple attempts, the University has still not carried its burden to prove that the requested records are not subject to FOIA.
Despite two attempts on remand, the University still has not satisfied its burden to create a record from which the Superior Court can determine whether the University performed an adequate search for responsive documents.
Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation ask the Supreme Court to overturn the lower court’s ruling and allow the appellants limited discovery “to include at [a] minimum, a deposition of a representative of the University and production of documents … Alternatively, the Court should remand this case with instructions to order the turnover of the requested documents since the University has had more than adequate opportunity to satisfy its burden.”
“The University of Delaware has been sitting on Biden’s Senate records for more than 10 years and is desperate to avoid any scrutiny of its secret deal with Biden to hide these records,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The latest revelations about Biden’s handling of ‘classified’ records raise even more questions about what Biden is hiding.”
“On day one, the White House said President Biden was committed to bringing ‘transparency and truth back to government.’ Apparently, the University of Delaware didn’t get the memo,” Daily Caller News Foundation Managing Editor Michael Bastasch. “It’s shocking they’ve spent years fighting to keep these records hidden from the American people. Hopefully, the Delaware Supreme Court ends the University’s stonewalling.”
Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation are being represented by Delaware lawyers Ted Kittila and Bill Green of Halloran Farkas + Kittila LLP.