A federal appeals court has ordered lawsuits by Judicial Watch and Cause of Action seeking to force the federal government to recover Hillary Clinton’s missing emails to move forward, reversing a lower court’s dismissal.When Secretary of State John Kerry refused to take all lawful measures mandated by federal law to recover Clinton’s emails, Judicial Watch and Cause of Action brought separate lawsuits seeking to force Attorney General Loretta Lynch to launch a Justice Department investigation, a request that federal law says should have originated from Kerry or from the national archivist. A federal trial judge on the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed these lawsuits, holding they were moot and no longer appropriate for judicial action.
On Dec. 27, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed, ordering the lower court to restart proceedings on the lawsuit. The panel included both liberal and conservative judges.
“The Federal Records Act governs the creation, management and disposal of federal records,” Senior Judge Stephen Williams wrote for the court, quoting a previous case. “Due to the importance of maintaining federal records (which are generally accessible to the public through the Freedom of Information Act), the act strictly limits the circumstances under which records can be removed from federal custody or destroyed.”