In order for the SOUTH FLORIDA SUN-SENTINEL reporters to figure out who was receiving federal disaster aid, they first needed names and addresses from FEMA. When FEMA denied their request, the SUN-SENTINEL took them to court. This past June a federal appeals court ruled in the newspaper's favor, requiring FEMA to release the addresses, though not the names, of disaster aid recipients.
Today was the deadline for FEMA to file for a rehearing. They have until September 20 to petition the Supreme Court to review the case.
The Blog spoke to Rachel Fugate, an attorney who represented the SUN-SENTINEL in its case against FEMA. "I think a lot of newspapers were waiting to see what would happen with this case," Fugate told the Blog. "I think it might open up a door for a lot of news entities to make requests for this type of information in their reporting." Read more of the interview with Fugate.