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Vince Foster Photos: Family Privacy v. Public Right to Know


— December 2, 2003

Allan Favish is on a mission. The California lawyer wants to expose what he believes is a government coverup involving the July 1993 death of Vincent Foster, deputy White House counsel.

He even has an idea how to expose the coverup: by gaining access, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to 10 color photographs taken by police shortly after Mr. Foster’s body was discovered in a national park in Virginia. . . .

[W]ednesday, the issue arrives at the US Supreme Court, where the justices are being asked to decide whether the public’s right to know certain government information outweighs any privacy rights of a dead person and surviving family members.

The case has major implications for American news organizations and government watchdogs who often battle officials and agencies for access to government-held information. It also has major implications for the state of privacy in the US. As such, it represents a classic struggle between a citizen’s right to know what his government is up to versus another citizen’s right to be left alone.

The Christian Science Monitor explores the issues here.

UPDATE: Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick now has details of the oral argument here. It wasn’t nearly as strange as Dahlia expected — at least not on account of Allan Favish.


Allan Favish is on a mission. The California lawyer wants to expose what he believes is a government coverup involving the July 1993 death of Vincent Foster, deputy White House counsel.

He even has an idea how to expose the coverup: by gaining access, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), to 10 color photographs taken by police shortly after Mr. Foster’s body was discovered in a national park in Virginia. . . .

[W]ednesday, the issue arrives at the US Supreme Court, where the justices are being asked to decide whether the public’s right to know certain government information outweighs any privacy rights of a dead person and surviving family members.

The case has major implications for American news organizations and government watchdogs who often battle officials and agencies for access to government-held information. It also has major implications for the state of privacy in the US. As such, it represents a classic struggle between a citizen’s right to know what his government is up to versus another citizen’s right to be left alone.

The Christian Science Monitor explores the issues here.

UPDATE: Slate‘s Dahlia Lithwick now has details of the oral argument here. It wasn’t nearly as strange as Dahlia expected — at least not on account of Allan Favish.

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