The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes

Politics and law from a British perspective (hence Politics LAW BloG): ''People who like this sort of thing...'' as the Great Man said

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Thursday, April 08, 2004

Scalia and the supine press

A jaw-dropping case: an AP piece (April 8) says that, during a speaking engagement of Justice Scalia - and there's a guy who hunts where the ducks are! - at Hattiesburg, MS, Deputy Federal Marshal Melanie Rube (too easy...) demanded, part way through Scalia's speech, that reporters (not named in the report) from AP and the Hattiesburg American erase their tapes of the speech so far.

Now, faced with this demand, you'd have thought that one of them would have caused a scene - got up, pleaded to Scalia as a defender of the US Constitution - at least asked to see the court order.

But these guardians of our liberties decided to roll over without a word of protest.

Under what law did the marshal have the right to demand those tapes erased? Will civil rights suits be filed?

A report in the American mentions the incident by one Antoinette Konz mentions the incident, but doesn't confirm that Konz was the American journo targeted by the marshal.

Scalia's hosts, William Carey College, were evidently livid, and afterwards apologised profusely to the media. (There was also a dispute over photography, which the college apparently took a unilateral decision to allow.)

But it's the action of the Federal Marshals - and the limp response of the journos - that takes the breath away.

Will the rest of the media saddle up and ride to the rescue, Seventh Cavalry-style? No sign as yet...

Oh - and the subject of Scalia's speech? Why, the Constitution, of course!
The Constitution of the United States is extraordinary and amazing. People just don't revere it like they used to.

I'm done...

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