Free press

Free press
: Justice Antonin Scalia has been brought to his knees by Lucy Dalglish of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. You’ll remember that thugs U.S. Marshalls forced two reporters to erase their tapes of a Scalia speech. Dalglish sent him a letter and sent out a press release that took no prisoners — and Scalia relented and said he didn’t want the tapes erased and even apologized to the reporters.

Dalglish’s original press release:

“Even assuming it was reasonable for Justice Scalia to prohibit recordings of his speech — which it was not — the law does not allow law enforcement officials to seize work product from journalists under these circumstances,” said Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy Dalglish. “Perhaps one of these days, Justice Scalia will tell us why he has so little regard for electronic media. Certainly the only effect the tape recordings by two print reporters would have had on coverage of his speech would have been to make the reporting more accurate.”

Justice Scalia has a track record of banning electronic coverage of speeches where he addresses the majesty of the U.S. Constitution. In March 2003, he prohibited televised coverage of his appearance at The City Club of Cleveland, where he received “The Citadel of Free-Speech Award” honoring his support of the First Amendment. During Wednesday’s speech, Justice Scalia told students that the constitution’s true meaning must always be protected. Calling the constitution “a brilliant piece of work,” he told a full auditorium that “People just don’t revere it like they used to.”

Take that!

Scalia responded to Dalglish. The next press release:

In a letter addressed to Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy Dalglish, Justice Scalia said he did not direct or approve of the marshal’s actions April 7 at Presbyterian Christian School: “You were correct that the action was not taken at my direction; I was as upset as you were. I have written to the reporters involved, extending my apology.”

In response to the Reporters Committee’s request that he change his policy of forbidding recordings at his public speaking events, Justice Scalia noted that he is “undertaking to revise [his] policy so as to permit recording for use of the print media.”

Scalia is still being a bozo about tapes appearing on broadcast.

Well, Judgey, just get used to a new world in which anyone and everyone is a reporter who can record you on any manner of device and broadcast that to the world on the Internet — and why the hell should you fear or try to stop that?

I’m glad that Dalglish is on the case. I met her at some industry thing and she’s impressive and dogged and when she fights for the rights of reporters she’s fighting for the rights of all citizens. So go get ‘im, Lucy!