By David Cuillier | September 25th, 2008
Following the secrecy trail of U.S. Justice Antonin Scalia, we see he moseyed Wednesday to the University of Montana to give a public speech, and forced out any media with cameras or video, according to the Montana Kaiman. Scalia also prohibited cameras at a public speech, titled “Freedom and the Rule of Law,” at Utah State University on Sept. 15 (see below). What gets my goat is that the universities actually go along with his demands. When journalists showed up with cameras, they were kicked out. Kudos to Ian Marquand, a KPAX-TV reporter, president of the Montana SPJ chapter and former SPJ FOI Committee chair, who e-mailed local media urging them to boycott the lecture (at least KPAX and KGVO radio agreed).
As many of you know, Scalia has worked hard over the years to undermine freedom of information. He advocated against the Freedom of Information Act, and in 1982, as a law professor, wrote in the journal Regulation (March/April, pp. 15-19) that FOIA has “greatly burdened investigative agencies and the courts,” and provides a “free lunch” for people who are “motivated by no more than idle curiousity.” Scalia chastises “do-it-yourself oversight by the public and its surrogate, the press,” suggesting that FOIA rarely leads to significant public revelations, and that there is no need for the law when regulatory agencies are making sure everything is fine. Yeah, we can trust those regulatory agencies and the system of checks and balances (as long as we have $700 billion handy to hand over every now and then).