The Law of Access to Government

Carolina Academic Press 2012

16 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2009 Last revised: 6 Sep 2012

See all articles by Richard J. Peltz-Steele

Richard J. Peltz-Steele

University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth

Date Written: August 31, 2012


This is the first and only casebook geared entirely to the study of access to government, or freedom of information law, in the United States. Unlike other treatments that focus exclusively on the federal FOIA or on statutory FOI, this book takes a broader approach, recognizing that professionals in law and mass communication must be familiar with multistate sunshine norms in records and meetings, including regulatory, statutory, common law, and constitutional access at both state and federal levels and in all three branches of government. The book is designed principally to employ the law-school case method, but is suitable as well for graduate and advanced undergraduate students in journalism and mass communication. Cases are selected to stimulate student interest, treating, for example, access to sexual-offense allegations against pro athletes, to a madam’s black book, and to hunters’ identities, in addition to doctrinal essentials, such as Press-Enterprise, Warner Communications, RCFP, Armstrong, and Favish. Extensive notes follow primary-source materials, raising legal, political, and policy questions, and providing ample fodder for class discussion. Graphic elements enhance the flow of the text. The book is updated with developments in the decade-plus war on terror, including materials such as Hustler’s bid to embed, access to fallen heroes at Dover, and the Holder policy on state secrets. Coverage is organized in three parts — the judiciary, the executive, and access issues, plus a statutory appendix — and in 10 chapters: criminal courts, juries, judicial records, FOIAs, police and prisons, war and security, open records, open meetings, electronic media, and scope of laws. Forthcoming TM will provide course guidance, content summaries, and references to audiovisual materials.

Front Matter Available for Download on SSRN.

Keywords: freedom of information, FOIA, access, open records, open meetings, public records, public meetings, casebook, law, administrative law, state government, local government, journalism, sunshine

JEL Classification: L32, L33, H10, H11, H19, H50, H59, H70, H79, H80, H89, I00, K00, K10, K19, K20, K23, K29, K40, K41

Suggested Citation

Peltz-Steele, Richard J., The Law of Access to Government (August 31, 2012). Carolina Academic Press 2012, Available at SSRN: or

Richard J. Peltz-Steele (Contact Author)

University of Massachusetts School of Law at Dartmouth ( email )

333 Faunce Corner Road
North Dartmouth, MA 02747-1252
United States
15089851102 (Phone)

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