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Justice Scalia on Cameras in the Supreme Court (C-SPAN)

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Published on Jul 26, 2012

During a C-SPAN Q&A interview, Justice Antonin Scalia discusses Cameras in the Supreme Court. Watch the complete interview on Sunday, July 29 at 8:00 p.m. ET on C-SPAN.

Excerpts include:

SCALIA: I was for it when I first joined the Court and switched and remain on that side of it. I am against it because I do not believe, as the proponents of television in the Court assert, that the purpose of televising our hearings would be educate the American people. That's not what it would end up doing. If I really thought it would educate the American people I would be all for it. If the American people sat down and watched our proceedings gavel-to-gavel they would never again ask, as I'm sometimes asked, "Justice Scalia, why do you have to be a lawyer to be on the Supreme Court? The constitution doesn't say-- " no the constitution doesn't say so. But, if you know what our real business is, if you know that we're not usually contemplating our naval "should there be a right to this or that, should there be a right to abortion, should there be a right to homose-- " that's not usually what we're doing. We're usually dealing with the Internal Revenue Code. With ERISA. With Patent Law. With all sorts of dull stuff that only a lawyer could understand and perhaps get interested. If the American people saw all of that they would be educated. But they wouldn't see all of that. You're outfit would carry it all, to be sure, but what most of the American people would see would be 30 second, 15 second takeouts from our argument and those takeouts would not be characteristic of what we do. They would be uncharacteristic.

C-SPAN: Yeah, now, but what we see is an article in a newspaper that's out of context with what you say is --

SCALIA: That's fine. But it's...people read that and say "well it's an article in a newspaper and the guy may be lying or he may be misinformed." But somehow when you see it live, an excerpt pulled out of an entire, when you see it live, it has a much greater impact. No, I am sure it will mis-educate the American people, not educate.




C-SPAN: Well, we get the audio. We get the audio at the end of the week.

SCALIA: Yeah, but the audio is not of interest to the 15 second take out people and the 30 second take out people. The audio isn't of interest precisely because it doesn't have that kind of impact.

C-SPAN: But the first amendment doesn't go, "takeouts are not good. We can't have those 15 second sound bites."

SCALIA: The First Amendment has nothing to do with whether we have to televise our proceedings.

C-SPAN: But aren't you an advocate -- ?

SCALIA: You're saying the First Amendment requires us to televise our proceedings?

C-SPAN: No, I didn't say that. I just said that you're a big advocate of the first amendment.

SCALIA: I am indeed and it doesn't require us to televise our proceedings.

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