Chris Bray: Thoroughly Reframed: The First Circuit Cuts Through the Haze

Start in the hallway, and look for little gestures.

A panel of judges from the First Circuit heard arguments today -- listen to them here -- in the pair of appeals filed by Belfast Project researchers Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre. But first there was a long wait, as the judges heard a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act in a courtroom that had no open public seats. So everyone filing in for the arguments over the Boston College archival material stood around in a remarkably pleasant seventh-floor hallway, where the federal judiciary should open a bed and breakfast to take advantage of the awesome waterfront views.

Then the DoMA case ended, the courtroom emptied, and the people in the hallway filed in for the Belfast Project hearing. The result of that repopulation of an empty courtroom was clear enough. At one point, a judge asked a question that, as legal blogger Ted Folkman wrote shortly after the hearing, "sparked some laughter from the side of the courtroom where the Moloney & McIntyre partisans were sitting."

Like guests at a wedding, observers at the hearing lined up behind their sides: a team of lawyers from the U.S. Attorney's Office watched from the public seats on the center-right behind their colleague arguing the case, while (for example) the lawyers who wrote the ACLUM's amicus brief lined up on the left behind Eamon Dornan, the lawyer arguing on behalf of Moloney and McIntyre. Ed Moloney and Carrie Twomey, Anthony McIntyre's wife, sat up front on the left, behind Dornan.

Two lawyers attended as observers for Boston College: Associate Counsel Nora Field, and Jeffrey Swope, the outside lawyer the university hired to contestulate(*) the Belfast Project subpoenas.

Field and Swope? They sat to the right of the government lawyers.



  1. Seems things are looking in favour of the Researchers and interviewee's.
    I hope it stays that way.
    Good luck Anthoney.

  2. After listening to the audio transcript it sounded like the only thing the prosecutor got right that day was she brushed her teeth got dressed and showed up in court.
    I think she might have discovered she brought the wrong notes and was winging her way through some judicial examination.

  3. Congratulations on this one. I have been worried not only about the integrity of this research but about the precedent it could set for historical research in the future.
    Currently reading Voices From the Grave; engaging and depressing to say the least.

  4. Under the circumstances, showing up in court may have been a bad choice. And I would want to see evidence she brushed her teeth before I would sign on to the rest of that conclusion!

  5. Chris Bay,

    that would be funny if I could backup my oral hygiene comment.
    Her verbal fluidity was more like a boxer ducking and weaving avoiding the hard punches and at times she sounded like a deer in the headlights.
    I was expecting a more secure argument from her instead, she sounded shaky and unsure almost as if she was in the wrong courtroom.

  6. Chase,

    thanks for that.

    It is an interesting book. Hope you get something out of it