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No sure thing

The path to the United States Supreme Court is a winding one and there is no certainty that the nine justices will end up considering the tangled legal weave that is the Boston College archives case.

But if the case does ever reach the full court it will remind many of the Joe Doherty case which did make it to the Supreme Court and resulted in a 1992 5-3 decision against Doherty's plea for political asylum in the U.S.

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In the BC case, journalists Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre have indicted that they will seek a ruling from the Supreme Court, this after their plea for an "en banc" hearing before the U.S. First Court of Appeals was denied. Through their lawyers, Moloney and McIntyre have sought a stay on the handing over of BC archives interviews with former IRA member, Dolours Price, in addition to other interviews which were the subject of a separate appeal by Boston College before the court last Friday.

As well as seeking the stay order in Boston, the two also filed for a similar stay in the Belfast High Court late last week. If the First Circuit denies the stay, it is open to Moloney and McIntyre's attorneys to seek a further "emergency" stay from the Supreme Court. Such a plea would be considered by a single justice, likely Justice Breyer. Meanwhile, Boston College's entirely separate appeal against the release of archive tapes in the face of federal subpoenas was heard by the First Circuit last Friday, Sept. 7. The lower District Court had ordered that portions of seven transcripts of former IRA paramilitaries dealing with the murder of Jean McConville in the Belfast Project interviews be turned over to the U.S. Department of Justice on behalf of the PSNI. A decision is expected in six or seven weeks.