Michigan Supreme Court splits on whether records held by university library are public

The Michigan Supreme Court deadlocked April 9, 2021, on whether records possessed by a University of Michigan library are considered public, The Detroit News reported.

The 3-3 ruling allows an immigration lawyer to move forward with a public records request for documents donated to the university by an anti-immigration activist. In 2010, Dr. John Tanton donated 25 boxes of documents to the library, on the condition that 10 of the boxes remain sealed until 2035. Tanton died in 2019.

Immigration attorney Hassan H. Ahmad submitted a public records request in 2016.

The state Supreme Court ruling means Ahmad can argue the records are public. The university, however, still can claim a privacy exemption.