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Court: Can Va. keep out-of-staters from using FOI?

Associated Press Modified: October 5, 2012 at 5:46 pm •  Published: October 5, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court decided Friday it would hear arguments over whether states can keep out-of-staters from using their Freedom of Information Act laws to get government documents.

The high court on Friday agreed to hear an appeal from Mark J. McBurney of Rhode Island and Roger W. Hurlbert of California, two men who wanted to use the Virginia law to request public documents from state officials. Both were both denied because they are not Virginia citizens. Hurlbert was trying to get property assessment information for his business, Sage Information Services, and McBurney was trying to information from the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement in a child support enforcement case against his ex-wife.

Virginia law limits access to state citizens and some media outlets. The two men sued, saying the citizens-only provision violated the Constitution by barring their access to public documents because of their state citizenship. The Constitution says "citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states."

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