Newstalk: Kevin Cullen on Belfast Project Supreme Court Stay

Only in America on Newstalk Lunchtime
Newstalk Lunchtime with Jonathan Healy
Monday to Friday 12.00 – 13.30
Oct 19th, 2012,

As usual on Friday, Kevin Cullen of The Boston Globe joins Newstalk Lunchtime for a round up of the week’s US news.

Listen to the full interview here.


Jonathan Healy (JH) interviews The Boston Globe Columnist Kevin Cullen (KC) about The Belfast Project, the oral history archive at Boston College which has been subpoenaed by the PSNI

(begins about 3:49 in)

Jonathan Healy (JH): One story that you’ve worked alot on over the years (and we’ve spoken to you alot about it as well) is the Boston College IRA tapes and there’s been a development in that this week. What is it?

Kevin Cullen (KC): It’s very surprising actually, Jonathan.

The was the last, basically last, ditch effort that Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre, the Irish-based researchers in the Project who are resisting turning over these tapes, they went to the Supreme Court. And I don’t know anyone here who really thought they had a shot.

But there’s one member of the court named Stephen Breyer, one of the nine justices, he’s in the liberal-wing of the court and he’s just granted a Stay, so that they do not have turn to over these tapes until the court decides whether it will hear the whole case itself.

Now that’s remarkable! I don’t think anybody in the legal community thought these guys had a chance.

And the fact that Breyer would issue that Stay, I was actually talking to one of the attorneys yesterday on the case – he actually has represented The Boston Globe on a number of first amendment issues – he thinks that the only reason that Breyer would do this is that Breyer is actually lobbying the other members of the court to take this case on.

That obviously, beyond the ramifications for Boston College, and in fact for Gerry Adams who’s been implicated in these tapes, beyond those ramifications is the whole idea of research, of Oral History, and whether in fact people can make promises of confidentiality in that.

Clearly Breyer thinks this is a case that the entire court, the highest court in the land, should hear. And that’s something’s he’s working on because he would not have granted that Stay.

So basically nothing’s going to happen until the court decides one way or another whether they’re going to hear this case and the lawyer I talked to yesterday suggests that will not happen until early next year probably sometime around February.

JH: And even then, would it be concluded at that point or would it be just entering another long, legal process? I’m guessing: that like the Supreme Court here, the Supreme Court in The States takes a long time to consider these matters.

KC: Well, actually it’s interesting…. the big hurdle on the United States Supreme Court is just to get “cert”, as they call it, and have it heard. (Ed Note: from Certiorari)

But once they decide to hear it – they get to it pretty quickly and they generally will report out within the year.

So this case could actually come to a head sometime say June or July. That’s very often when these cases are released by the court. The court takes very, very few cases so the actual turnaround is quick.

JH: Okay. We’ll watch that one as well.

(ends about 6:30)