Contentious litigation about the governance of the Jackson Municipal Airport again reached the Fifth Circuit in Jackson Municipal Airport Auth. v. Harkins, No. 21-60312 (May 10, 2023). The Court accepted jurisdiction in a document-production dispute for reasons unique to governmental privilege, but its waiver reasoning is instructive more broadly:
As relevant here, communications with third parties outside the legislature might still be within the sphere of “legitimate legislative activity” if the communication bears on potential legislation. Consequently, some communications with third parties, such as private communications with advocacy groups, are protected by legislative privilege when they are “a part and parcel of the modern legislative procedures through which legislators receive information possibly bearing on the legislation they are to consider.” Thus, we disagree with the district court’s broad pronouncement that the Legislators waived their legislative privilege for any documents or information that had been shared with third parties.
No 21-60312 (May 10, 2023) (citations omitted).
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