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Can Regulation Trump A Statue

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                                       Can a Screening Regulation Displace A Burden that FOIA Places on Agencies, simply because the litigant is poor?


I have question involving FOIA, and screening pro-se litigants complaint's that are granted informa pauperis status.


My question is how much weight is a district court to give an agencies initial finding on de novo review 5 U.S.C. § 552(a)(4)(B)?


The reason I ask is because agency regulation 6 C.F.R § 5.9 (c) in place at the time when the initial response was appealed states that an appeal is required from a final response before seeking judicial review. Its clear that all administrative remedies should be exhausted.


The question is on judicial de novo review, challenging the grounds for denying appeal is the court permitted to ignore the grounds for denying appeal and give total weight to the initial grounds for not producing records responsive to request.


Let me put it a another way, did Congress intend agencies burden to sustain its action under § 552(a)(4)(B), to shift from agency to the requester to prove (to unbelieving judge screening complaint) that an agency is actually withholding specific documents responsive to request under 28 U.S.C § 1915(e)(2)?

Where complaint is dismissed before agency is made to answer or plead to FOIA complaint under § 552(a)(4)(C).


Can an order not addressing the merits of an agencies response, adduced from its affidavit or supporting documents regarding handling of and responding to request be considered a decision on the merits under § 552(a)(4)(B)?

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