ORDER GRANTING MOTION TO DE-DESIGNATE SEVEN DOCUMENTS
Sweeney’s Telling Quotes from the Order Granting Motion to De-Designate
After careful consideration of the parties’ competing arguments, the court finds that Perry Capital appellants’ request is reasonable and that defendant’s opposition is not well-founded. As a preliminary matter, the court finds that, in light of the oral argument in Perry Capital that is set for April 15, 2016 before the D.C. Circuit, Perry Capital appellants’ request is ripe for decision. Moreover, in its re-examination of the documents attached to Perry Capital appellants’ motion, the court notes that the contents of these documents refer to, among other things, events— including decisions and forecasts—that occurred more than three years ago. For that reason, the court finds that sufficient time has passed to alleviate its initial concerns that disclosure of certain information to the public had the potential to adversely influence United States financial markets. With the passage of time, the court’s initial concern regarding a negative impact on the Nation’s financial markets or financial institutions has dissipated.
While the court recognizes that protection of the Nation’s financial markets and fledgling financial institutions were legitimate goals when the court first entered its order, with the passage of time, the potential for harm to the Nation’s markets and then-fledgling financial institutions no longer exists. Instead of harm to the Nation resulting from disclosure, the only “harm” presented is the potential for criticism of an agency, institution, and the decision-makers of those entities. The court will not condone the misuse of a protective order as a shield to insulate public officials from criticism in the way they execute their public duties. Thus, avoidance of “second-guessing” an agency’s decisions several years after the fact, as described by Mr. Watt, is, with the passage of time no longer a legitimate basis to maintain documents under a protective order. The court notes that from the inception of this litigation, the government has consistently maintained that the court lacks jurisdiction over this case because the United States had no control over the enterprises. Taking the government at its word, it is surprising that defendant is concerned with the unsealing of government officials’ deposition testimony.
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