Appeals court reduces number of IRA oral histories Boston College must provide to Britain

tags: terrorism, IRA, Inside Higher Ed, The Troubles, Boston College, oral histories



A federal appeals court on Friday handed an important victory to scholars -- especially those who engage in or rely on oral history -- by reducing from 85 to 11 the number of oral history interviews Boston College must provide to British authorities.

In doing so, the appeals court rejected (as it did in an earlier review of the case) the idea that confidential materials collected for scholarship were entitled to a heightened level of protection from outside subpoenas than would be most other documents. But the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit said that some "balancing" of conflicting rights could still be in order, and rejected the U.S. government's contention that there was no need for a court review of the appropriateness of the the subpoenas.

"[W]e rule that the enforcement of subpoenas is an inherent judicial function which, by virtue of the doctrine of separation of powers, cannot be constitutionally divested from the courts of the United States," said the ruling....




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