On Monday, the Supreme Court made it more difficult for journalists to access commercial information under the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA. The case involves a South Dakota newspaper which was refused documents by the U.S. Agriculture Department related to grocery stores participating in the food stamp program. The publication, the Argus Leader, was investigating fraud in the federally funded program.
The justices ruled 6 to 3 against the newspaper, with Justices Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Breyer dissenting. The Committee to Protect Journalists said of the ruling, “In order to hold institutions to account, journalists often need to petition the government to make documents public. Today’s ruling will undermine the ability of reporters to access the information they need to do their jobs and is a blow to the transparency of the United States government.”