March 6, 2000
Statement by John W. Carlin, Archivist of the United States on the Supreme Court's Response to the GRS 20 Case
In 1997, in the case of Public Citizen v. Carlin, a Federal judge declared NARA's General Records Schedule 20, concerning the disposition of electronic copies of certain Federal records, null and void. But last August an appeals court reversed the decision. The plaintiffs then filed a petition asking the Supreme Court to review the Court of Appeals decision. Today the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, letting stand the decision in favor of NARA. That should conclude this case.
In effect, my legal authority as Archivist of the United States to issue GRS 20, and the propriety of my doing so, have been upheld. I am grateful for that, and for the renewed opportunity we now have to continue in an orderly way to develop practical methods for managing and preserving records in the electronic era and ensuring ready access to them. Our guidance to agencies on electronic records disposition already has advanced beyond the original GRS 20 in this case, and our efforts to help agencies meet preservation and access needs for records in all media will aggressively continue. We look forward to working on this with all interested parties.
For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail.