The Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) stated that Virginia citizens could access all public records but did not contain a similar allowance for non-Virginia citizens. McBurney and other non-Virginia residents (plaintiffs) sought access to Virginia public records under FOIA. The Commonwealth of Virginia (defendant) denied the request. The non-Virginia residents challenged FOIA’s exclusion of non-residents on the grounds that it violated the Privileges and Immunities Clause. The non-Virginia residents argued that FOIA prevented them from practicing their trade, which required obtaining property records from various states for clients. The non-Virginia residents also claimed that the exclusion gave Virginia citizens an unfair litigation advantage over non-Virginia citizens. The non-Virginia residents also claimed FOIA violated the dormant Commerce Clause. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.