Peter Callaghan: A bad open government ruling 14 years in the making

From The News Tribune: I wasn’t as shocked as some last week when the state Supreme Court found that governors have a constitutional exemption from disclosing certain documents to the public.

Since I’d been denied records by a former governor who cited executive privilege, a decision backed up by a past attorney general, I assumed there was a strong likelihood the court would side with those who felt executive privilege existed.

What was disturbing though, was the court’s refusal to narrow the privilege that was created by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving President Richard Nixon and his attempt to hide recordings made in his office. The release of the Oval Office tapes was the final nail in Nixon’s coffin, politically speaking at least.

One reading of the majority opinion in Freedom Foundation v. Gregoire raises a fear that the court might have made the executive privilege in Washington state broader than anywhere else.

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