In the latest legal setback for the beleaguered president of the United States, a Delaware Superior Court has ordered the University of Delaware to provide additional information justifying its decision to restrict access to the U.S. Senate records of Joe Biden.
A lawsuit petitioning access to the records was filed by Judicial Watch, a government watchdog group. The Conservative Brief notes the Judicial Watch along with the Daily Caller News Foundation “aims to have the university compelled to release papers from Biden’s 30-year career in the Senate.”
An excerpt from a Judicial Watch press release reads:
Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation filed a July 2020 Delaware Freedom of Information Act lawsuit after the University of Delaware denied their requests on April 30, 2020, for all of Biden’s Senate records and for records about the preservation and any proposed release of the records, including communications with Biden or his representatives (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. University of Delaware, No. N20A-07-001 MMJ (Del. Super.)). (Biden’s papers include more than 1,850 boxes of archival records from his Senate career.)
Judicial Watch appealed an adverse lower court ruling and the Delaware Supreme Court returned the case to the lower court. The University of Delaware then filed an affidavit, citing no documents or other specifics, stating that no state funds were used on the University’s matters or undertakings regarding Biden and that the Biden Senate papers were never discussed at any meetings of the University full Board of Trustees.
Superior Court Judge Mary M. Johnson seems inclined to support the petition and ordered the University to provide additional information to justify its position. Johnson’s court order read:
The remand mandates that the inquiry does not end with the University’s filing of an Affidavit swearing to information previously provided. The Supreme Court directed reconsideration of whether the University satisfied its burden of proof.”
The Court finds that the generalized statements in the Affidavit do not meet “the burden to create a record from which the Superior Court can determine whether the University performed an adequate search for responsive documents.”
The University of Delaware must articulate who (identified at least by position within the University) provided the information: that no State funds were spent by the University; that no salaries of any University personnel involved in the custody and curation of the papers were paid with State funds; that no State funds were spent on the University’s email system for communications between University personnel and Biden representatives; when such inquiries were made; and what, if any, documents (other than the gift agreement) were reviewed.
Daily Caller News Foundation Managing Editor Michael Bastasch argues that the requested paperwork should be in the public record, saying:
“It’s absurd we’re having to sue the University of Delaware just to learn how they’re using taxpayer dollars. Rest assured, with Judicial Watch’s help, we are optimistic we will uncover the truth about why they are seemingly keeping President Biden’s records a secret.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton agrees with Bastasch and added: “Joe Biden is being protected by the University of Delaware, and the courts are growing impatient with the shell games,” adding, “Of course, President Biden could end the dispute by simply releasing the details about his Senate records. What is Biden hiding?”
A lower court previously ruled the University of Delaware could keep the records sealed. In December 2021, however, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that the University of Delaware must provide additional information to justify restricting public access to the records.
The case was sent to the Delaware Superior Court, which this week, agreed with the state Supreme Court and ordered the university to provide additional information for the court to review or grant public access to the documents.
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