Scalia to Appear on Camera for C-SPAN

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia -- who in the past has been skittish about allowing electronic journalists to cover his appearances -- agreed to talk to high-school students for one hour while the C-SPAN cameras roll.

C-SPAN said Monday that Scalia will participate in its Students and Leaders series, hosting a group of students from the suburban Washington, D.C., Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology April 9 at the Supreme Court while C-SPAN covers the forum, in which the students will be able to ask him about various issues, including the First Amendment.

"We have done this with a number of justices over the years," a C-SPAN spokesman said. "We asked Justice Scalia and he said yes." Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Stephen Bryer, Anthony Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Ruth Bader Ginsberg have all participated in the C-SPAN series, but this is a first for Scalia.

Scalia has often said "no," sometimes definitively, to cameras and other recording devices at his appearances, as well as during arguments at the Supreme Court.

Perhaps most notably, Scalia was criticized by journalists in March 2003 when he received an award for his commitment to free speech at a Cleveland City Club Ceremony that was, at his request, closed to C-SPAN and other cameras.

"The irony of excluding journalists from an event designed to celebrate the First Amendment's guarantee of free speech is obvious to all," the Radio-Television News Directors Association protested at the time.

Then there was the time federal marshals guarding Scalia had reporters' tape recordings destroyed.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.