Judicial Watch announced today that the Delaware Superior Court ordered the University of Delaware to provide under oath additional information justifying its decision to keep secret its deal to house and restrict access to the U.S. Senate records of President Joe Biden.
Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation filed a July 2020 Delaware Freedom of Information Act lawsuit after the University of Delaware denied their requests on April 30, 2020, for all of Biden’s Senate records and for records about the preservation and any proposed release of the records, including communications with Biden or his representatives (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. University of Delaware, No. N20A-07-001 MMJ (Del. Super.)). (Biden’s papers include more than 1,850 boxes of archival records from his Senate career.)
Judicial Watch appealed an adverse lower court ruling and the Delaware Supreme Court returned to the case to the lower court.
The University of Delaware then filed an affidavit, citing no documents or other specifics, stating that no state funds were used on the university’s “matters or undertakings” regarding Biden and that the Biden Senate papers were never discussed at any meetings of the university full Board of Trustees.
Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation challenged the sufficiency of the affidavit and Superior Court Judge Mary M. Johnson ordered the University to provide more information:
[T]he remand mandates that the inquiry does not end with the University’s filing of an Affidavit swearing to information previously provided. The Supreme Court directed reconsideration of whether the University satisfied its burden of proof.
The Court finds that the generalized statements in the Affidavit do not meet “the burden to create a record from which the Superior Court can determine whether the University performed an adequate search for responsive documents.” The University of Delaware must articulate who (identified at least by position within the University) provided the information: that no State funds were spent by the University; that no salaries of any University personnel involved in the custody and curation of the papers were paid with State funds; that no State funds were spent on the University’s email system for communications between University personnel and Biden representatives; when such inquiries were made; and what, if any, documents (other than the gift agreement) were reviewed.
“It’s absurd we’re having to sue the University of Delaware just to learn how they’re using taxpayer dollars,” said Daily Caller News Foundation Managing Editor Michael Bastasch. “Rest assured, with Judicial Watch’s help, we are optimistic we will uncover the truth about why they are seemingly keeping President Biden’s records a secret.”
“Joe Biden is being protected by the University of Delaware, and the courts are growing impatient with the shell games,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Of course, President Biden could end the dispute by simply releasing the details about his Senate records. What is Biden hiding?”
Judicial Watch and the Daily Caller News Foundation are being represented by Delaware lawyers Ted Kittila and Bill Green of Halloran Farkas + Kittila LLP.