The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press received a letter today from Justice Antonin Scalia in response to its April 8 letter regarding a U.S. Marshal’s seizure and erasure of two reporters’ audio recorders during a speech the Justice gave last week at a Hattiesburg, Miss., high school.
In a letter addressed to Reporters Committee Executive Director Lucy Dalglish, Justice Scalia said he did not direct or approve of the marshal’s actions April 7 at Presbyterian Christian School: “You were correct that the action was not taken at my direction; I was as upset as you were. I have written to the reporters involved, extending my apology.”
In response to the Reporters Committee’s request that he change his policy of forbidding recordings at his public speaking events, Justice Scalia noted that he is “undertaking to revise [his] policy so as to permit recording for use of the print media.”
Justice Scalia further noted that although security personnel, including the U.S. Marshals, do not operate at his direction, he will “certainly express” to security personnel that he would prefer that they not confiscate recordings.
The Reporters Committee also had asked the Justice to change his long-standing policy of refusing to appear on television or radio. In response to that request, Justice Scalia said, “The electronic media in the past respected my First Amendment right not to speak on radio or television when I do not wish to do so, and I am sure that courtesy will continue.”
“We greatly appreciate Justice Scalia’s prompt response to our letter,” Dalglish said. “However, we remain disappointed with his policy regarding electronic media coverage of his speeches, and hope he will reconsider. We’ve never been able to ascertain why he so dislikes television and radio. If we understood his concerns, perhaps broadcasters could address them to his satisfaction.”
The letter can be viewed on the Reporters Committee Web site at: https://www.rcfp.org/news/releases/scalia_response.pdf