Thursday, December 16, 2004

More on Scalia's Media Shyness from a Trip to Clinton Country

Nino visited the University of Arkansas at Little Rock School of Law in October 2004. An article in the Arkansas Times, titled "Justice Scalia Comes to Town," (note Nino picture, kinda looks like a shorter James Garner, & I dig the natty cuff links!) discusses Justice Scalia's policy of not permitting anyone to use a video camera or tape recorder to record one of his speeches for later broadcast. The Arkansas Times reporter quipped that "possibly, he [Scalia] has only one speech, and is striving to keep it fresh" (noting that Nino gave an identical speech at Harvard's JFK Jr. Forum on 9/29/04).

Interestingly, the Arkansas Times article mentions that the federal judiciary is exempt from the Federal Freedom of Information Act ("FOIA"), so no one could get a federal court order to compel Nino to permit the recording of his speeches (which would take major cojones to do, in any event). I researched this, and, sure enough, under 5 U.S.C. Section 551 (1)(B) , "the courts of the United States" are exempted from the definition for "agency." The text of FOIA is at 5 U.S.C. Section 552, and is part of the Federal Administrative Procedure Act ("APA"), which governs federal agency practice, in general.

Another point to note, the article mentions that Scalia is the only U.S. Supreme Court Justice "who prohibits taping for broadcast." This is tougher to verify, but a trip to the Supreme Court's spiffy website under the links "public information," then "speeches," revealed no speech transcripts posted for Nino (but there weren't any transcripts posted from Js Thomas, Souter or Stevens, either). I'll have to do more research to find support for that assertion.


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