Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc. v. Hillary Rodham Clinton

997 F.2d 898 (1993)

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Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, Inc. v. Hillary Rodham Clinton

United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit
997 F.2d 898 (1993)

  • Written by Heather Whittemore, JD

Facts

In 1993 President Clinton created a task force charged with collecting evidence and proposing healthcare legislation. The task force was chaired by First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton and included members of the president’s cabinet and other presidential advisors. President Clinton also created a working group to gather information on healthcare reform to assist the task force. The working group was composed of permanent and temporary federal government employees, and consultants who attended working-group meetings irregularly. The task force and working group held meetings that were closed to the public. Organizations that represented the interests of physicians and healthcare consumers (collectively, the plaintiff organizations) (plaintiffs) sought access to the meetings pursuant to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), but they were denied. FACA regulated advisory committees and required all advisory-committee meetings to be open to the public. FACA exempted from its regulations advisory committees entirely composed of full-time officers and employees of the federal government. The plaintiff organizations filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the United States government (defendant), asserting that the task force and working groups were advisory committees subject to FACA. The government argued that the task force and working group were exempt from FACA because their members were full-time government officials and employees. The plaintiff organizations reasoned that the task force and working group were not exempt because the consultants and Hillary Clinton were not full-time government officials or employees. The district court held that the task force was an advisory committee that was subject to FACA, but that the working group was not an advisory committee. The government appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Silberman, J.)

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