University of Michigan Law School
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Case Name James Madison Project (Politico) v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security NS-DC-0107
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-00388-APM ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) National Security
Presidential/Gubernatorial Authority
Special Collection Trump Administration FOIA cases
Case Summary
On March 3, 2017, this suit was filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the James Madison Project and Politico. The suit aimed to shed light on how the Department of Homeland Security implemented President Trump's January 27 Executive Order (EO) 13769, the ban on admission to the U.S ... read more >
On March 3, 2017, this suit was filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by the James Madison Project and Politico. The suit aimed to shed light on how the Department of Homeland Security implemented President Trump's January 27 Executive Order (EO) 13769, the ban on admission to the U.S. of nationals of Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Specifically, plaintiffs sought information about how the Department of Homeland Security coordinated with private and commercial airlines following EO 13769's rollout. The complaint sought an order for the defendants to disclose the requested records in their entirety.

Private counsel represented the plaintiffs. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia and was assigned to Judge Amit Mehta.

In the complaint, plaintiffs cited the initial chaos caused by the EO 13769 and alleged that, despite the issuance of emergency stays, Customs and Border Protection agents often refused to comply with court orders. Plaintiffs previously submitted FOIA requests to TSA, CBP, ICE, USCIS, and DHS, but had not received a substantive response from any of the agencies. Plaintiffs alleged that they had a legal right to the information sought and that they had exhausted all administrative remedies for obtaining it.

Separately, that same day, the James Madison Project and the executive editor of the Daily Beast filed another FOIA lawsuit seeking intra- and inter-agency communications relating to the scope and operation of the EO. That lawsuit is described here.

On Mar. 6, 2017, the President rescinded the Jan. 27 EO and replaced it with a narrower one, Executive Order 13780.

According to a joint status report filed on Jun. 16, the government was in the process of conducting the requisite search pursuant to FOIA request as of that date. The report stated that DHS, USCIS, and ICE had no responsive records. The report further stated that TSA released some records, and that TSA and CBP may have additional responsive records.

On January 19, 2018, the parties submitted a joint status report stating that "agency components have now completed their processing of Plaintiffs' requests. DHS, USCIS, and ICE located no records responsive to Plaintiffs' FOIA requests. TSA produced 53 pages of responsive records, and CBP produced 29 pages of responsive records. TSA referred certain information from its 53 pages of records to DHS, and that information has now been fully processed." The parties sought further time to decide on whether further issues required briefing. A status report filed on March 20 indicated that DHS was still in the process of fulfilling the request, and that it anticipated completing production of responsive records by August 2018.

A status report filed on May 21, 2018 noted that DHS completed processing the FOIA request and that the parties sought to resolve the matter without further litigation. The plaintiffs stated that they would not challenge the adequacy of DHS' searches. On July 23, the parties filed a status report indicating they were close to finalizing a settlement agreement.

On July 31, 2018, the parties filed a stipulation of dismissal. The case is now closed.

Jamie Kessler - 06/26/2017
Virginia Weeks - 08/05/2018
Gabriela Hybel - 02/11/2018

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Issues and Causes of Action
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Content of Injunction
Required disclosure
National origin discrimination
Religion discrimination
Terrorism/Post 9-11 issues
Admission - criteria
Admission - procedure
Asylum - criteria
Asylum - procedure
Border police
Detention - conditions
Detention - criteria
Detention - procedures
National Origin/Ethnicity
Arab/Afgani/Middle Eastern
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. ยง 552
Defendant(s) Department of Homeland Security
Plaintiff Description The James Madison Project ("JMP") is an organization established in 1998 "to promote government accountability and the reduction of secrecy, as well as [to educate] the public on issues relating to intelligence and national security." Other plaintiffs are senior reporters for Politico.
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer No
Nature of Relief Document/information produced
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Voluntary Dismissal
Filed 03/03/2017
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Case Listing NS-DC-0115 : James Madison Project (Daily Beast) v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (D.D.C.)
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
NS-DC-0107-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
NS-DC-0107-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
FOIA Requests from James Madison Project [ECF# 8-1, 8-2, 8-3, 8-4, 8-5, 8-6]
NS-DC-0107-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
show all people docs
Judges Mehta, Amit Priyavadan (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
Plaintiff's Lawyers Moss, Bradley Prescott (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
NS-DC-0107-0001 | NS-DC-0107-0002 | NS-DC-0107-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Berns, Matthew (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
Tulis, Elizabeth (New York) show/hide docs

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