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Case Basics
Docket No. 
Mark J. McBurney et al.
Nathaniel L. Young, Deputy Commissioner and Director, Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement, et al.
Decided By 
(for the petitioners)
(Solicitor General of Virginia, for the respondents)
Facts of the Case 

Mark McBurney is a citizen of Rohde Island and a former resident of Virginia where his son lives. When McBurney’s wife defaulted on child support obligations, he asked the Virginia Division of Child Support Enforcement (VDCSE) to file a petition for child support on his behalf. After a nine-month delay, the petition was filed and granted. He then filed a Virginia Freedom of Information Act (VFOIA) request with the VDCSE for all records pertaining to his son and ex-wife. The VDCSE denied the request, arguing that the information was confidential and McBurney was not a citizen of the state. While McBurney eventually obtained most of needed the information through other sources, he never got all of the information from his VFOIA request.

McBurney sued in district court arguing that denial of the VFOIA request violated the privileges and immunities clause and the dormant commerce clause of the Constitution. The district court ruled against McBurney. Mc Burney along with two others appealed their VFOIA denials to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, which affirmed the district court. The Court of Appeals held that VFOIA did not hinder a non citizen's right to pursue buisness in the state and did not place a burden on interstate commerce.


Under the Privileges and Immunities Clause of Article IV and the dormant Commerce Clause of the U. S. Constitution, may a state preclude citizens of other states from enjoying the same right of access to public records that the state affords its own citizens?

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MCBURNEY v. YOUNG. The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law. 02 July 2015. <>.
MCBURNEY v. YOUNG, The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, (last visited July 2, 2015).
"MCBURNEY v. YOUNG," The Oyez Project at IIT Chicago-Kent College of Law, accessed July 2, 2015,