This week, the Bush administration decided not to appeal a federal district court judge’s decision that invalidated a crucial section of Executive Order (EO) 13233, which broadened the rights of presidents and former-presidents to withhold federal records from the public for indefinite periods of time.
On November 28, the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and Museum released approximately 122,800 pages of historical materials from the Nixon presidency at the National Archives in College Park, MD.
A federal district judge this week issued a temporary restraining order to prevent the White House from destroying back-up copies of millions of deleted emails while a lawsuit is pending to gain access to them. The judge also consolidated two separate suits filed by the National Security Archive (NSA) and Citizens for Ethics in Washington (CREW) against the Executive Office of the President (EOP), including the White House Office of Administration (OA), and the National Archives and Records Administration.
The Washington Post issued an editorial this week calling for Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) to lift his hold on Senate consideration of the Presidential Records Reform bill (H.R. 1255) that would revoke President Bush’s Executive Order 13233. The National Coalition for History has argued for years that the EO 13233 has contributed to delays in the release of presidential records. The editorial cited both the EO and the lack of adequate financial resources at the National Archives as the reasons why the processing of presidential records, including those of the Clintons, have been delayed.
On November 13, 2007, the National Coalition for History (NCH) submitted comments on a proposed regulation issued by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) implementing changes in the management of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) dealing with, among other issues, the handling of presidential records.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is proposing to revise its regulations relating to demands for records or testimony in legal proceedings. The rule is intended to facilitate access to records in NARA’s custody, centralize agency decision-making in response to demands for records or testimony, minimize the disruption of official duties in complying with demands, maintain agency control over the release of agency information, and protect the interests of the United States.
In a ceremony at the White House on November 15, 2007, President Bush awarded the National Humanities Medals to nine individuals. Among those receiving the awards, four were recognized for their accomplishments in history: Russell Freedman, a writer of non-fiction and history for young adults; Victor Davis Hanson, best known for his writings on Greek history; Richard Pipes, a historian of the Cold War, and Pauline L. Schultz, a curator and author from Wyoming.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is requesting written comments on a proposed amendment to the categories of research that may be reviewed by an institutional review board (IRB) through an expedited review procedure. Comments must be submitted by December 26, 2007.
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has issued new final regulations on scheduling Federal records to make future records schedules and certain existing approved records schedules applicable to series of records regardless of the medium in which the records are created and maintained. This rule makes all new schedules media neutral unless otherwise specified and allows schedules previously approved for hard copy records to be applied to electronic versions of the files if certain conditions are met.
This week, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee marked up a bill (H.R. 390) directing the National Archives to create an electronically searchable database of historic records of servitude, emancipation, and post-Civil War reconstruction contained within federal agencies for genealogical and historical research and to assist in the preservation of these records.