Friday, November 1, 2013

Common Cause v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission case brief

Common Cause v. Nuclear Regulatory Commission case brief summary
674 F.2d 921 (D.C. Cir. 1982)

Three interrelated cases were consolidated in an appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, which had ruled against defendant regulatory agency, holding it in contempt, where plaintiffs, citizens, challenged the lawfulness of the judgment of defendant to close a meeting to discuss the agency's budget proposals.

Defendant regulatory agency closed its meetings from the public to discuss budget proposals. In three interrelated cases, consolidated on appeal, plaintiffs, citizens, brought suit against defendant, challenging the lawfulness of its decision. The district court enjoined defendant from closing its meetings and held defendant in contempt of court. Defendant appealed the decision.

  • The court vacated the district court's injunction because it failed to satisfy the specificity requirements of Fed. R. Civ. P. 65(d) and vacated the district court's order holding defendant in contempt for violating the injunction. 
  • The court held that none of the exemptions to the Sunshine Act provided any blanket exception for budget discussions at any stage preliminary staff budget briefings, markup/reclama meetings, or meetings to prepare reclama to the Office of Management and Budget and held that no portion of either meeting was exempt from disclosure. 
  • Because defendant had not carried its burden of proving that the meetings were lawfully closed, the court ordered the release of full transcripts of both meetings.

The court vacated the district court's injunction and vacated its order holding regulatory agency in contempt for violating the injunction.

Recommended Supplements for Administrative Law Examples & Explanations: Administrative Law, Fourth Edition
Administrative Law and Process: In a Nutshell (Nutshell Series)

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