Press Release
Press Release · Friday, August 6, 1999

Press Release
August 6, 1999
Statement by the National Archives and Records Administration on the U.S. Court of Appeals decision on General Records Schedule 20

In 1995, Archivist of the United States John Carlin, as head of the National Archives and Records Administration, issued a revision of a general records schedule, GRS-20, for the disposition of some Federal electronic records. GRS-20 authorized federal agencies to dispose of certain electronic copies of e-mail, word-processing documents, and other computer-generated material if first saved by copying to a paper, microform, or electronic recordkeeping system. In response to a lawsuit opposing this action, a Federal district court judge ruled that portions of GRS-20 reached beyond the authority of the Archivist of the United States under the Federal Records Act, and declared GRS-20 null and void. In response to the Government's appeal, the U.S. Court of Appeals has now overturned the lower court decision.

The National Archives and Records Administration is pleased that the court has upheld the legal authority of the Archivist and the propriety of his action. We now need to review the appeals court's decision before making any further comment. But NARA welcomes the opportunity provided by this decision to continue in an orderly way to develop practical, workable strategies and methods for managing and preserving records in the electronic age and ensuring ready access to them. NARA remains committed to working aggressively toward that goal.

For additional PRESS information, please contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at (301) 837-1700 or by e-mail. Visit the National Archives Home Page on the World Wide Web at


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