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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

Two federal appeals courts have ruled differently on this issue. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Delaware's citizens-only Freedom of Information Act law was unconstitutional because "access to public records is a right protected by the Privileges and Immunities Clause" of the Constitution. But the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed in Virginia, saying the law's limitations were legal.

"Nothing in the language of the VFOIA prohibits Hurlbert from pursuing his profession in Virginia," the federal appeals court said.

It also said Virginia's "citizen-only provision does not bar (McBurney) from engaging in the political process, advocating his own interests, or advancing his political or legal arguments within the commonwealth."

The Supreme Court will make the final decision. Arguments will likely be scheduled for 2013.