Presidential Records Access

Executive Order 13233, which includes provisions to allow former and current U.S. presidents to withhold federal records from the public and extends certain executive privileges to the vice president, continues to face challenges in the courts and in Congress. On October 1, a federal judge struck down the section of the order that allows a former president to indefinitely delay the release of his records. The Bush administration has decided not to appeal.

Legislation (H.R. 1255) to overturn Executive Order 13233 overwhelmingly passed the House by a vote of 333-93 in March. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) had placed a hold on bringing the bill to the Senate floor in September, but relented without comment in mid-December. However, now an unnamed senator has placed a new hold on advancing the bill. President Bush has vowed to veto the bill if it comes to his desk.

More information on the federal court's decision is available at the National Coalition for History's web site here, with the follow-up regarding Sen. Bunning's dropping his objections here.