Thursday, April 08, 2004

Judicial Arrogance

This story about Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia forcing reporters to turn over tape recordings of a speech he gave really steams me. What other branch of government enjoys such blanket protection from press scrutiny? Judges can have their court rooms completely sealed from press coverage and their own selves protected as well. They can order gags that will jail those who break them!

It is long past time we stopped this. As Eugene Volokh notes on his blog, the reporters should have (politely) refused to co-operate with the marshals who took their tapes. They would almost certainly have been right to do so.

Every profession that has protected itself from outside scrutiny has been found to be a snakepit of corruption and despotism and incompetence. Lawyers, doctors, press. Now it's time for the final frontier -- judges. At first, it will take some folks willing to brave jail, but if enough people do it, we can finally expose these folks to the light of public attention.

After all, it was Supreme Court Justice Brandeis who said, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."

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