Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia will be giving a major address on Saturday marking the centennial of Duquesne University School of Law in Pittsurgh. In conjunction with the talk, the law school is pulling out all the stops and celebrating the justice's own special occasion: as of Monday Sept. 26, Scalia will have been on the Court for 25 years.
In addition to a gala black-tie dinner, there will be panel discussion by some of his former clerks -- including Judge Jeffrey Sutton of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit and Time/Warner general counsel Paul Cappuccio -- talking about the justice. A film celebrating Scalia's public service will be shown, and some music students will put on a mini-opera featuring some of his favorite musical numbers. Scalia will also receive an award for his career of public service.
But if you're not already signed up to attend the sold-out event in person, you won't be able to see or hear any of it. At Scalia's request, all cameras have been prohibited; print reporters will be allowed, and can tape remarks only for note-taking accuracy, not for broadcast. C-SPAN, which wanted to broadcast the event, is taking a pass because of the rules.
"This is the justice's standard protocol,' said Rose Ravasio, the law school's media relations manager. Indeed, Scalia does usually keep cameras from recording his remarks and events. But extending the rule to what is billed as the "centennial address" for a law school's highly public celebration seems to take the practice to a new level. In a press release, the law school's dean Ken Gormley said, "The speech by Justice Scalia and the Black Tie Gala are really the culminating events of the Centennial."
As is almost always the case, however, the law school acquiesced to Scalia's demands. Asked if she wishes cameras were allowed at the event, Ravasio said, "We're grateful for any of the publicity we get."