Statutory Law - US Code - 44 USC 2204. Restrictions on access to Presidential records


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44 USC § 2204. Restrictions on access to Presidential records

*Current through Public Law 112-173, August 16th, 2012.

(a) Prior to the conclusion of his term of office or last consecutive term of office, as the case may be, the President shall specify durations, not to exceed 12 years, for which access shall be restricted with respect to information, in a Presidential record, within one or more of the following categories:
(1)(A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national defense or foreign policy and (B) in fact properly classified pursuant to such Executive order;
(2) relating to appointments to Federal office;
(3) specifically exempted from disclosure by statute (other than sections 552 and 552b of title 5, United States Code), provided that such statute (A) requires that the material be withheld from the public in such a manner as to leave no discretion on the issue, or (B) establishes particular criteria for withholding or refers to particular types of material to be withheld;
(4) trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person and privileged or confidential;
(5) confidential communications requesting or submitting advice, between the President and his advisers, or between such advisers; or
(6) personnel and medical files and similar files the disclosure of which would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.

(b)(1) Any Presidential record or reasonably segregable portion thereof containing information within a category restricted by the President under subsection (a) shall be so designated by the Archivist and access thereto shall be restricted until the earlier of—
(A)(i) the date on which the former President waives the restriction on disclosure of such record, or
(ii) the expiration of the duration specified under subsection (a) for the category of information on the basis of which access to such record has been restricted; or
(B) upon a determination by the Archivist that such record or reasonably segregable portion thereof, or of any significant element or aspect of the information contained in such record or reasonably segregable portion thereof, has been placed in the public domain through publication by the former President, or his agents.

(2) Any such record which does not contain information within a category restricted by the President under subsection (a), or contains information within such a category for which the duration of restricted access has expired, shall be exempt from the provisions of subsection (c) until the earlier of—
(A) the date which is 5 years after the date on which the Archivist obtains custody of such record pursuant to section 2203(d)(1); or
(B) the date on which the Archivist completes the processing and organization of such records or integral file segment thereof.

(3) During the period of restricted access specified pursuant to subsection (b)(1), the determination whether access to a Presidential record or reasonably segregable portion thereof shall be restricted shall be made by the Archivist, in his discretion, after consultation with the former President, and, during such period, such determinations shall not be subject to judicial review, except as provided in subsection (e) of this section. The Archivist shall establish procedures whereby any person denied access to a Presidential record because such record is restricted pursuant to a determination made under this paragraph, may file an administrative appeal of such determination. Such procedures shall provide for a written determination by the Archivist or his designee, within 30 working days after receipt of such an appeal, setting forth the basis for such determination.
(c)(1) Subject to the limitations on access imposed pursuant to subsections (a) and (b), Presidential records shall be administered in accordance with section 552 of title 5, United States Code, except that paragraph (b)(5) of that section shall not be available for purposes of withholding any Presidential record, and for the purposes of such section such records shall be deemed to be records of the National Archives and Records Administration. Access to such records shall be granted on nondiscriminatory terms.
(2) Nothing in this Act shall be construed to confirm, limit, or expand any constitutionally-based privilege which may be available to an incumbent or former President.
(d) Upon the death or disability of a President or former President, any discretion or authority the President or former President may have had under this chapter shall be exercised by the Archivist unless otherwise previously provided by the President or former President in a written notice to the Archivist.
(e) The United States District Court for the District of Columbia shall have jurisdiction over any action initiated by the former President asserting that a determination made by the Archivist violates the former President's rights or privileges.

(Added Pub. L. 95–591, §2(a), Nov. 4, 1978, 92 Stat. 2525; amended Pub. L. 98–497, title I, §107(b)(7), Oct. 19, 1984, 98 Stat. 2287.)