Thursday, December 04, 2003

Justices Hear Case on Using Death Photos of Official
New York Times ^ | December 4, 2003 | LINDA GREENHOUSE

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3 — Although Vincent W. Foster Jr., the Clinton administration's deputy White House counsel, killed himself more than 10 years ago, the controversy provoked by his death has yet to run its course. The Supreme Court heard arguments on Wednesday on whether the Freedom of Information Act obliges the government to make public the graphic photographs that the police took of the death scene in Fort Marcy Park in McLean, Va.

The question was whether the release of the photographs, sought by a California lawyer who questions the official conclusion that the death was a suicide, would be an unwarranted invasion of the privacy of Mr. Foster's surviving family members.

While the Freedom of Information Act broadly requires the disclosure of government records, it has an exemption for law enforcement records that "could reasonably be expected to constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy."


Mr. Favish has maintained, and repeated in court, that the photographs would demonstrate inconsistencies in the official reports of the death and show that the government had been negligent in determining what really happened.

Justice Antonin Scalia, for one, was not impressed.

"You've just demonstrated some foot faults," Justice Scalia told Mr. Favish. "Who cares?"

Thank you Justice Scalia, my sentiments exactly.

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