Above the Law

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), April 10, 2004 | Go to article overview

Above the Law


Byline: The Register-Guard

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia seems to have a hard time telling the difference between the ducks he loves to hunt with his old chum, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the journalists he likes to hunt with federal marshals.

Scalia delivered a speech to a group of high school students in Mississippi on Wednesday. After he was done, a federal marshal, apparently acting on the justice's orders, confiscated and erased tape recordings made by two reporters who had been invited to hear the justice speak in the school's gymnasium.

The justice already has shown a remarkable arrogance and disregard for public opinion by angrily refusing to recuse himself from a case involving Cheney's closed private meetings with energy industry executives.

Now he has taken this arrogance and disregard to what might be called a supreme level by interfering with journalists who had the audacity to record his comments. The facts are still being sorted out, but Scalia's order may have violated federal laws that shield journalists from having their notes and records confiscated by officials.

Scalia has a long-standing policy of prohibiting either television or audio recordings of his public remarks, a rule that is shared by no other member of the current court. …

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