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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Monday, April 12, 2004
 

Will AP and Gannett sue the Feds over Scalia abuse?


(Following up April 9 piece.)

Nehemiah Flowers has spoken (AP April 10), defending tape-snatcher Melanie Rube [1]:
The justice informed us he did not want any recordings of his speech and remarks and when we discovered that one, or possibly two, reporters were in fact recording, she took action

She took illegal action. Or thus it appears: the work product of a journalist is protected under the Privacy Protection Act of 1980, 42 USC 2000aa, from seizure by Federal officers.

ยง2000aa-6 provides for a civil action by those aggrieved by such illegal seizure [2].

It seems to me - various lawyers have been quoted as agreeing (ha!) - that AP and Gannett have the Feds bang to rights [3]. But no sign yet that they intend to pursue the case.

The New York Times runs a Hammond organ-accompanied op-ed bashing Scalia (not that I object to that) by a Hearts and Flowers [4] treatment of Antoinette Konz [5], the girl reporter (well, 25 years old, and no Tintin - or Nellie Bly) from the Hattiesburg American.
Ms. Konz said neither she nor Ms. Grones wanted to comply with the marshal's demand.

"It was very distracting, very embarrassing," she said. "We were still trying to listen to what he was saying."

The marshal, Melanie Rube, insisted.


That was where Bull Connor went wrong: if only he'd just insisted, there'd have been no need for the fire hoses...

  1. Also this piece.
    Marshals Service spokesman David Turner
    isn't so solid in Rube's defence.

  2. This page explains the background to the Act.

  3. There is a defence if
    the officer or employee had a reasonable good faith belief in the lawfulness of his conduct.
    I don't know what standard of reasonable applies; how legally knowledgeable is the the officer required to be? Marshals should be expected to know about the PPA, surely?

  4. I just typed Hearst and Flowers...

  5. I see the name, I think of that of long-dead pianist Charlie Kunz: now that's distracting! (Apparently pronounced Coons, just in case Sonny Boy is reading...)

MORE

I get the feeling that the American is not exactly in the mood for hardball.

It runs a piece by Kevin Walters under the hed and dek
Scalia speech receives praise
Some undeterred by media controversy

Other than that, how did you like the play, Mrs Lincoln?

He quotes
Presbyterian Christian student Amy Sellers, 18
as being surprised at Scalia's no recording policy.

However
...she expressed suspicion of how the press might use Scalia's comments.

"The reporters may take bits and pieces of what he said and make his speech appear like something it really wasn't," she said.


I think we have an intern for Scott McClellan right there! So young, and she gets the Filter...

Point is, why did the American run a story like that? Suckering the Feds for a PPA complaint? Ninth Beatitude time, I think.


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