state right-to-know law - non-citizen request - privileges and immunities
Lee v. Minner - 3rd Circuit - August 16, 2006
Delaware's freedom of information law -- the equivalent of Pennsylvania's Right to Know Law, 65 P.S. sec. 66.1, et seq. -- was held to violate the privileges and immunities clause of the U.S. Constitution by restricting the right of citizens of other states to access, inspect and copy public documents.
Delaware's attorney general rejected the request of a N.Y. citizen for documents based on Delaware law, which said that "any cititzen of the state" could inspect and copy records. The AG wrote to the requester that his address indicated that he was not a citizen of Delaware and so denied his request.
The court held that the citizens-only provision violated Article IV, sec. 2, of the US Constitution, which provides that the citizens of each state shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states. This provision was "designed to 'fuse into one national a collection of independent sovereign states…and its object was to place the citizens of each state upon the same footing…so far as the advantages resulting from citizenship in those States are concerned….The section, in effect, prevents a State from discriminating against citizens of other states in favor of its own" unless there is a "substantial reasons for the discriminatory pracftice, and the practice bears a substantial relation to the state's objectives."
Pennsylvania's right to know law, 65 P.S., sec. 66.1, similarly defines "requester" as a "person who is a resident of the Commonwealth and requests a record pursuant to this act."