Milner v. Department of the Navy
United States Supreme Court
562 U.S. 562 (2011)
The U.S. Department of the Navy (defendant) used Explosive Safety Quantity Distance (ESQD) information to assist in storing explosives on its Puget Sound base. The ESQD information suggested minimum distances between explosives so as to avoid a chain reaction explosion in the event of a single explosion. Glen Milner (plaintiff) filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking disclosure of the ESQD data. The Navy withheld disclosure based on Exemption 2 of FOIA, which protected from disclosure materials “related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices of an agency.” Courts had construed this exemption to include materials whose disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law. Milner appealed the Navy’s withholding in federal court. The district court granted the Navy summary judgment. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit affirmed, ruling that the Navy used the ESQD information to tell internal personnel how to do their jobs, and that disclosure could reasonably be expected to risk circumvention of the law by bad actors. The United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Kagan, J.)
Concurrence (Alito, J.)
Dissent (Breyer, J.)
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