Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire will have to defend her claims of “executive privilege,” as the state Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case over her decisions to withhold certain documents from the public, which critics deride as government secrecy.
Executive privilege is not listed as a specific exemption under state law, but a Thurston County judge ruled last year that Gregoire was allowed to use it as a reason to keep documents private. The Olympia-based Freedom Foundation appealed the case directly to the Supreme Court.
State law encourages the disclosure of public records but already recognizes more than 300 public records exemptions, such as proprietary information or medical files. Gregoire’s office contends that executive privilege is inherent in the constitutional guarantee of separation of powers and that it is necessary so advisers can talk candidly as they work to make decisions.
The Freedom Foundation had sought records on a variety of subjects, including documents on the Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement, medical marijuana and criminal pardons.
No hearing date has been set. (AP)