DC Circuit rejects bid for House climate probe documents

By Josh Gerstein | 05/29/2024 06:26 AM EDT

Appeals court judges Tuesday left the door open to people seeking congressional records.

Michelle Childs.

Judge Michelle Childs during her confirmation hearing to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. Childs authored a ruling Tuesday concerning public access to congressional records. Senate Judiciary Committee

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday against two attempts to use the federal courts to force Congress to comply with access requests for records about official activities.

In a pair of unanimous opinions, the same three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit turned down journalist Jason Leopold’s effort to make public more than 100 Capitol Police directives in effect at the time of the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.

It also rejected climate change science skeptic Robert Schilling’s bid to force the House to reveal details of the House Oversight Committee’s alleged reliance on outside advocates during an investigation into the fossil fuel industry under Democratic control.


However, Judge Michelle Childs said in the Schilling ruling that outside parties might still be able to use the courts to obtain some congressional records more closely focused on official acts taken by committees or the full House.