White House

President Obama and his successors in the Oval Office are not obligated to make public the names of individuals visiting the White House, according to a decision of the federal Circuit Court for the District of Columbia made public Friday.

The case was brought by Judicial Watch, the government watchdog nonprofit that has been fighting a long legal battle seeking to force release of the White House visitor logs as public records under the Freedom of Information Act.

But in a decision that is drawing intense criticism from across the ideological spectrum, the circuit court said the president has a “constitutional perogative” not to tell the American people who he or his staff meets with in the White House.

The court said the president has such a prerogative because he is not covered by the FOIA and because of “special policy considerations” that allow exemption of visitor logs from classification as agency records subject to release under the public records law.

President Obama began making public some of the White House visitor logs in 2009, but refused a Judicial Watch request for all of the logs.

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