Boston College Researchers Take Note of Stanford Law Review's Blast of First Circuit Court of Appeals

Dec 11, 2012, 20:30 ET from Boston College Researchers

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Boston College 'Belfast Project' researchers take note of the prestigious Stanford Law Review's remarkable turn and mighty swipe at the Appeals Court in Boston, in an incisive and astute analysis, Privilege and the Belfast Project (December 5th, by Will Havemann, The article weighs in with harsh criticism on the First Circuit Court of Appeals' ruling mandating that Boston College comply with the U.S. Department of Justice, DOJ, subpoenas saying the Court "erred both as a matter of precedent and of policy."

The subpoenas, instituted at the behest of the U.K., cite the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty, MLAT, between Britain and the U.S., and seek confidential taped interviews conducted by Boston College in an oral history project documenting The Troubles in Northern Ireland.

The legal brouhaha dates back to the summer of 2011 when the Department of Justice, DOJ, served subpoenas on Boston College demanding interviews with former IRA members for the stated purpose of investigating a 40-year-old murder in Northern Ireland – a murder that was never investigated after it happened and that has lain dormant for years.

In July 2012 after an extraordinary legal battle, the First Circuit ordered Boston College to comply with the subpoenas and hand over the interviews. But on October 17th, in a stunning reversal of the First Circuit's decision, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer stayed the First Circuit's decision until the Supreme Court rules on Boston College's petition for certiorari, a decision expected to come down in either January or February 2013.

Although the Stanford Law Review refrains from voicing an opinion on the ruling, it strongly criticizes the First Circuit's approach on reaching a decision that essentially ignores "the considerable interests supporting the Belfast Project's confidentiality guarantee."

The Journal concludes by observing that there is at least one Supreme Court Justice who has indicated an inclination to correct the mischief done by the First Circuit and shed light on an area of First Amendment law where the Court's guidance is profoundly needed.

Contact: Sabina Clarke
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SOURCE Boston College Researchers