In a decision memo handed down Monday, a U.S. district judge denied a FOIA request by the far-right activist group Judicial Watch in which conservative activists tried to obtain the names of LGBT employees at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle wrote in her decision that to allow Judicial Watch access to those documents “creates a palpable threat to privacy” of employees at the Department. Huvelle wrote that she was unwilling to compromise that privacy for the “relatively inconsequential (if not non-existent) interests” of the conservative group.
On August 23, 2012, LGBT employees at the Justice Department held the “Lavender Law Conference & Career Fair,” where they were addressed by Attorney General Eric Holder. The event was sponsored by the LGBT Bar Association.
Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act request with the federal government on August 27 of that year, demanding full access to a laundry list of documents including Holder’s cell-phone number, his email address, e-mails “discussing the drafting of the Attorney General’s speech” at the conference, “the cell phone numbers of third parties associated with an LGBT organization,” “the cell phone and home numbers and personal e-mail addresses of various employees of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security,” emails between “Department employees, including personal commentary and discussions among colleagues inferring the sexual orientation of some Department employees who would be involved at the conference.”
When its FOIA request was denied, Judicial Watch sued the Department, alleging a “cover-up.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement, “The Department of Justice is increasingly home to a bevy of leftist activists pursuing narrow ideological agendas at the expense of the public interest. And Justice officials want to keep this all a secret — as shown by the fact that we had to file a FOIA lawsuit to get basic information about the Attorney General’s collusion with homosexual activists/government employees.”
[image of Tom Fitton by Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons licensed]