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BigKazWSM747
04-13-2004, 01:39 PM
A Justice's Sense of Privilege

April 12, 2004
By BOB HERBERT





Antoinette Konz is a young education reporter for The Hattiesburg American, a daily newspaper with a circulation of about 25,000 in Hattiesburg, Miss. Ms. Konz, 25, has only been in the business for a couple of years, so her outlook hasn't been soiled by the cranks and the criminals, and the pretzel-shaped politicians that so many of us have been covering for too many years to count.

She considered it a big deal when one of the schools on her beat, the Presbyterian Christian High School, invited her to cover a speech that was delivered last Wednesday by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

About 300 people, many of them students, filled the school's gymnasium for the speech. They greeted Justice Scalia with a standing ovation.

Ms. Konz and a reporter for The Associated Press, Denise Grones, were seated in the front row. They began to take notes. And when Justice Scalia began speaking, they clicked on their tape recorders.

What's important about this story is that Justice Scalia is a big shot. Not only is he a member in good standing of the nation's most august court, he's almost always among those mentioned as a possible future chief justice.

Compared with him, Ms. Konz and Ms. Grones are nobodies.


Justice Scalia, the big shot, does not like reporters to turn tape recorders on when he's talking, whether that action is protected by the Constitution of the United States or not. He doesn't like it. And he doesn't permit it.

"Thirty-five minutes into the speech we were approached by a woman who identified herself as a deputy U.S. marshal," Ms. Konz told me in a telephone conversation on Friday. "She said that we should not be recording and that she needed to have our tapes."

In the U.S., this is a no-no. Justice Scalia and his colleagues on the court are responsible for guaranteeing such safeguards against tyranny as freedom of the press. In fact, the speech Mr. Scalia was giving at the very moment the marshal moved against the two reporters was about the importance of the Constitution.

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.

The A.P. reporter tried to explain that she had a digital recording device, so there was no tape to give up. Ms. Konz said the deputy seemed baffled by that.

Eventually both recordings were seized.

If this had been an old-time Hollywood movie, the Supreme Court justice would have turned a kindly face toward the marshal and said, in an avuncular tone: "No, no. We don't do that sort of thing in this country. Please return the recordings."

But this is the United States in the 21st century where the power brokers have gone mad. They've deluded themselves into thinking they're royalty, not public servants charged with protecting the rights and interests of the people. Both recordings were erased. Only then was the reporters' property returned.

When agents acting on behalf of a Supreme Court justice can just snatch and destroy information collected by reporters, we haven't just thumbed our nose at the Constitution, we've taken a very dangerous step in a very ugly direction. The depot at the end of that dark road is totalitarianism.

I called Jane Kirtley, a professor of media, ethics and law at the University of Minnesota, and asked her what was wrong with what the marshal did. She replied, "Everything."


Not only was it an affront to the Constitution to seize and erase the recordings, Ms. Kirtley believes it was also a violation of the Privacy Protection Act, a law passed by Congress in 1980.

"It protects journalists not just from newsroom searches," she said, "but from the seizure of their work product material, things like notes and drafts, and also what's called documentary materials, which are things like these tapes, or digital recordings."

Ms. Konz told me: "All I was doing with that tape recorder was making sure that I was not going to misquote the justice. My only intention was to report his words accurately."

After the encounter with the marshal, she said, "I went back to the office and I just felt absolutely - I just felt horrible."

taken from: www.nytimes.com

any comments?

Kane Fan
04-13-2004, 01:44 PM
illogical
why take the recording and not the notes...
makes little sence on many levels
if there is any reality to the story it'll get pretty big news if it dosn't go public pretty loud we can assume it's bs, we have a largely liberal media that would love to put this on prime time news

however I would say that if someone dosn't WANT to be recorded, even tho it might be someone's *right* to do so that dosn't make it the right thing to do
if the Marshal had just asked them not to record they should have been polite enough to respond in the affirmative out of pure manners
but again it makes no sence to take the RECORDING and not the notes...
how is anything gained that way

BuckWyld
04-13-2004, 01:51 PM
Originally posted by Kane Fan

however I would say that if someone dosn't WANT to be recorded, even tho it might be someone's *right* to do so that dosn't make it the right thing to do
if the Marshal had just asked them not to record they should have been polite enough to respond in the affirmative out of pure manners


As far as I can tell it is 100% with in their rights to record him regardless of what he wants. just like it is legal to have security cameras record people in public regarless of what they want. If he did not want to be recorded, he should not have been giving a public speach. btw they should have told the marshal to go **** himself

Kane Fan
04-13-2004, 01:54 PM
Originally posted by BuckWyld
As far as I can tell it is 100% with in their rights to record him regardless of what he wants. just like it is legal to have security cameras record people in public regarless of what they want. If he did not want to be recorded, he should not have been giving a public speach. btw they should have told the marshal to go **** himself

the marshal was female so telling him to go **** himself would be impossible
secondly, reread what I wrote instead of babbling

BuckWyld
04-13-2004, 01:55 PM
and what i said was that if he didnt want to be recorded he should not have given a speach and invited the press.

BigKazWSM747
04-13-2004, 02:01 PM
Originally posted by Kane Fan
however I would say that if someone dosn't WANT to be recorded, even tho it might be someone's *right* to do so that dosn't make it the right thing to do
if the Marshal had just asked them not to record they should have been polite enough to respond in the affirmative out of pure manners
but again it makes no sence to take the RECORDING and not the notes...
how is anything gained that way

I'm not going to argue from the moral standpoint, but since you didn't hear what BuckWyld said let me put it to you this way.

As a supreme court justice shouldn't Justice Scalia be fully aware of what the law does and does not allow? His duty is to uphold the law is it not? The law isn't supposed to be compromised because of 'manners' is it? And shouldn't he of all people be aware of this?

CerealKiller
04-13-2004, 02:29 PM
It is my understanding that the Supreme Court has long held that public figures, when in public are to be held to a different standard than private citizens. That is why movies stars have to put up with a swarm of sensation seeking photographers. What make Scalia different, he is not only a public figure but a public employee?

On another note, it should make for a humorous anectdote next time he goes duck hunting.

Jcfreak_02
04-13-2004, 11:34 PM
I am trying to remember where Scalia lies on the fence... It seems to me if he doesn't want to be recorded then he should engage in public speaking. Based on that article it sounded like the reports were being rude by recording, but still exercising their constitutional rights, and the marshall had no authority to cease that property to erase the speech.

Kane Fan
04-15-2004, 08:40 PM
Originally posted by BigKazWSM747
I'm not going to argue from the moral standpoint, but since you didn't hear what BuckWyld said let me put it to you this way.

As a supreme court justice shouldn't Justice Scalia be fully aware of what the law does and does not allow? His duty is to uphold the law is it not? The law isn't supposed to be compromised because of 'manners' is it? And shouldn't he of all people be aware of this?

again the simple fact, your side is missing the point not me
my point was differen't from what you seem to think it was
it was one of manners not rights
try to get that through your head and we can continue
or don't and pretend I'm making a point wich I am not either way I don't care
but I'm telling you in very clear terms you are wrong
now read what I wrote again and try to figure it out

BigKazWSM747
04-15-2004, 08:52 PM
Originally posted by Kane Fan
again the simple fact, your side is missing the point not me
my point was differen't from what you seem to think it was
it was one of manners not rights
try to get that through your head and we can continue
or don't and pretend I'm making a point wich I am not either way I don't care
but I'm telling you in very clear terms you are wrong
now read what I wrote again and try to figure it out

I see the side of manners but it really is irrelevent; since we are talking about people restricting the press from their constitutional rights not whether or not the press was rude about it! I see the manners point you are making but it imo has very little importance in the bigger picture. It is nothing but sprinkles on a sundae whereas the violation of rights is the ice cream.

And please try not to stumble over yourself when writing. "and don't pretend i'm making a point wich I am not either way I dont care", and then you go on to say in the same run-on sentence "I'm telling you in very clear terms you are wrong." Either your not making a point and just need to stop or you need to not fumble over trying to prove I am wrong (which would be your point) after saying you did not have one. Also I think you need to address what I outlined above if you want to prove me wrong.