The concept of open government is no fad


This is Sunshine Week, the one week in the year when open-government advocates celebrate the concept that government should operate in the open and that secrecy in government is bad government.


Earle Duncan Getchell Jr. is Virginia’s solicitor general, the lawyer who represents our state when legal disputes go before the high courts. Last month, Getchell was arguing that Virginia’s Freedom of Information Act can be invoked only by Virginians and out-of-staters are out of luck.

The case was before the U.S. Supreme Court and, at one point during the ubiquitous sparring with the justices, Getchell remarked that Freedom of Information laws were “very much the fad.” I think I know what fads are. They are trivial matters. CB radios were a fad. The hula hoop was a fad, as was the Rubik’s Cube.