Wednesday, February 1, 2012


Judge William Young has denied the government's request that he reconsider his "final order" in the matter of the Boston College subpoenas. A brief note on Pacer says that Young denied the motion as moot, which means he accepted BC's explanations regarding the remaining materials in the Belfast Project collection. Loyalist interviews are safe from surrender, for now. Note that the court has shown itself willing to listen to BC's representations regarding the contents of their archives.

And again: Why did BC fail to complete the same review of its interviews with IRA members, which would almost certainly have achieved the same effect of shielding most of that side of the collection from the eyes of the court? I hope that someone at BC will eventually bother to answer that question. In any event, today's decision leaves Thomas Hachey and Robert O'Neill naked in the light of day. I stand by this post.

Anyway, if BC is going to file an appeal, now's the time. I suspect they won't.

In other news, Belfast Project researchers Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre have appealed Young's decision to dismiss their lawsuit against Attorney General Eric Holder. The appeals court has consolidated that appeal with their earlier appeal of Young's decision to turn aside their request to intervene in the original court case over the subpoenas. Both appeals will be heard together in April.


  1. I can't understand what rationale BC could have had for their cowed and cowardly response to the subpoena, which can do nothing for them besides discredit their university as a partner in any future historical research. If this case ends up setting a precedent against academic confidentiality they may have quite a shameful legacy for decades to come. Unfortunately it's rather predictable behavior from anyone who still kneels in the Catholic shrine to intellectual subservience, rape cover-ups, and reactionary politics.

  2. Chase,

    This is just my guess, but this earlier post of mine was meant to suggest some of the rationale. Any research university now is dependent on the federal government to a substantial degree. They're afraid of offending a patron.

  3. That seems to be a sensible explanation, but I think the problem in BC's case is a matter of degree. It is one thing to avoid offending the federal government in general, quite another to shirk doing even the bare minimum to defend your rights even when your case is strong. Refusing to hand over the documents after an unfavorable verdict would be offensive to the government, but attempting to protect your confidentiality agreements is far from overstepping. Lawyering up will make the DoJ's job harder but is more likely to earn their respect than their vitriol.

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