Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Resolution of the Scalia/Hattiesburg affair?

from Hattiesburg American:

The U.S. Marshals Service has admitted its agent was wrong when she seized recordings of two reporters at a speech in Hattiesburg in April by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The recordings of former Hattiesburg American reporter Antoinette Konz and The Associated Press' Denise Grones who were covering Scalia's speech at Presbyterian Christian School were seized by U.S. Deputy Marshal Melanie Rube.

The newspaper and The Associated Press filed a lawsuit in May accusing the Marshals Service of violating the Privacy Protection Act and the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

from AP:

The government has conceded that the U.S. Marshals Service violated federal law when a marshal ordered reporters with The Associated Press and the Hattiesburg American to erase their recordings of a speech by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

The Justice Department also said the reporters and their employers are each entitled to $1,000 in damages and reasonable attorney fees, which had been sought by the media organizations.

The government's concessions were contained in court papers filed Friday in response to a lawsuit by the news organizations.

Nehemiah Flowers, U.S. marshal for the Southern District of Mississippi, had said after the incident that Rube's erasure of the recordings was appropriate, given that one of the service's responsibilities is to provide a traveling Supreme Court justice with security.

However, Flowers conceded that Scalia's wishes that his remarks not be recorded should have been publicly announced before the speech.

--> Relevant to an earlier post discussing Justice Scalia's remarks at Concord (virtual) Law School, there was notice that Scalia's remarks were not to be taped.

The American reported: Scalia, who later sent letters of apologies to both reporters, said he did not order the seizure of their recordings and announced a change in his policy to allow recordings of his public speeches by members of the print media.

***the take in Naples, FL


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