Antonin Scalia

Scalia's Purge


The Supreme Court justice gave a speech yesterday in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and according to the AP account, neglected to mention that the ground rules for hearing his precious words were that they were not to be tape-recorded under any circumstance. So, two reporters in the audience pushed "play/record" on their hand-helds. Then,

During the speech, a woman identifying herself as a deputy federal marshal demanded that a reporter for The Associated Press erase a tape recording of the justice's comments. She said the justice had asked that his appearance not be recorded.

The reporter initially resisted, but later showed the deputy how to erase the digital recording after the officer took the device from her hands. The exchange occurred in the front row of the auditorium while Scalia delivered his speech about the Constitution.

The deputy, who identified herself as Melanie Rube, also made a reporter for The Hattiesburg American erase her tape.

It's hard to figure out what's worse -- Scalia's inappropriate use of police power, or the reporters' laughable cowardice (to say nothing of their failure to capitalize on a golden newsmaking/martyrdom opportunity). Seeing a reporter sue a Justice for forcibly whitewashing history ? now that's a Supreme Court case I'd pay to see.