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Originally published Thursday, April 26, 2012 at 8:22 PM

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State Supreme Court to rule on executive privilege

The state Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that deals with the extent of the governor's executive privilege when it comes to withholding documents from the public.

The Spokesman-Review

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I'll bet Gregiore doesn't want this passed she might have to expose the deal she made... MORE
Awwwwwww.....this isn't going to be popular with the democrats............ MORE
She must be taking notes and advice from the DOJ and our honorable Eric Holder...hmm MORE


OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire believes she can keep some documents from the public because of executive privilege. The Freedom Foundation believes she can't because no such exemption exists in state law.

This week the state Supreme Court accepted a case that will decide who's right.

The foundation, a think tank and government watchdog group in Olympia, has been refused documents sought under the state's public-records law on a wide range of gubernatorial decisions, from tribal gaming pacts and pardons to judicial appointments and medical-marijuana regulations.

More than a year ago, the foundation filed a lawsuit in Thurston County Superior Court, arguing that the law has about 300 exemptions that can keep documents secret, but that executive privilege isn't one of them.

Judge Carol Murphy eventually agreed with Gregoire that executive privilege is inherent in the state constitution. If the governor asserts executive privilege, the person or group requesting the documents has the burden of showing that the need for the document outweighs the governor's interest.

The foundation appealed Murphy's ruling directly to the Supreme Court, and this week the court agreed to put it on its fall calendar.

Mike Reitz, an attorney for the foundation, said that shows the court recognizes the importance of the issue.

Janelle Guthrie, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General's Office, which will handle the other side of the case, agreed it's an important test of the separation of powers: "The governor has willingly submitted this case to the courts for resolution, and we're ready for the state Supreme Court to decide it."

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