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In re Petition of American Historical Association

Topic(s): Open Court Proceedings and Challenges to Protective Orders
Date Of Involvement: 12/09/1998

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In this case, historian Bruce Craig asked the court to unseal the McCarthy-era records of a grand jury that heard testimony from Richard Nixon and others concerning Alger Hiss and other suspected communists. The records had been sealed under the court rule requiring that grand jury proceedings be kept secret. Following Second Circuit precedent that courts have inherent authority to unseal grand jury records in exceptional circumstances, and that significant historical interest can satisfy that standard in some cases, the court ordered the bulk of the records unsealed.