I have always considered myself a commenter on the Birther movement, not a participant. But I did one active thing: in January of 2009 I filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the passport issuance records of Barack Obama’s mother. I’ve written a series of articles chronicling my attempts over two and a half years to get a satisfactory response to a simple query:
In order to sue the Government under the Freedom of Information Act, one must first exhaust all administrative remedies. In my case, the Department of State failed to respond to my initial request with the time period set by statute, and under the law I had exhausted my administrative remedies at that time. However, I didn’t know the statutory requirement back then, and when the DoS eventually did reply the following April that they had accepted my request and would begin searching, I lost my right to sue.
However, the opportunity has arisen again. I received a letter from the Department of State today regarding my appeal which says in part:
Federal regulations provide that a requester shall be deemed to have exhausted his/her administrative remedies if an agency fails to respond to an appeal with the twenty-day time period, and the requester may then immediately seek judicial review. Thus, since the twenty-day period has elapsed, you are free to seek judicial review should you wish to do so.
I filed my appeal in December of 2010, and it has indeed been more than 20 days.
To sue or not to sue: that is the question