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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia praised the Constitution at a Mississippi university while barking at news photographers documenting the speech. In fact, Scalia wouldn’t even allow video cameras inside the auditorium at William Carey University in Hattiesburg on Monday. 

Scalia praises Constitution while clamping down on photographers


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia praised the Constitution at a Mississippi university while barking at news photographers documenting the speech.

In fact, Scalia wouldn’t even allow video cameras inside the auditorium at William Carey University in Hattiesburg on Monday. 

Photo by Matt Bush/Hattiesburg American

Photo by Matt Bush/Hattiesburg American

This is why WDAM-TV videographer Mon Mussiett was forced to snap still photos instead of shoot video.

And even then, Scalia had an issue with him, according to the Hattiesburg American.

There was friction between Scalia and a media outlet during the speech. Even though still cameras were permitted, Scalia voiced his displeasure with WDAM-TV cameraman Mon Mussiett as he snapped photos.

“Could we stop the photos please?” he asked at one point.

One of the photographers at the event told Photography is Not a Crime the following:

Mon is a soft spoken professional who deserved to be treated with respect even if Scalia is a judge. Stopping the speech to yell at a photographer like he was a child is unacceptable.

This is  after we were stopped by a rent-a-cop at the door and had to find a U.S. Marshal to inform the security guard that still photography was in fact allowed.

This is not the first time Scalia has had an issue with the First Amendment in Hattiesburg.

Scalia’s last speaking engagement in Hattiesburg in 2004 turned into a free speech legal battle pitting the Hattiesburg American and the Associated Press against the U.S. Marshals Service. A marshal seized the tape recorders of Hattiesburg American reporter Toni Konz and AP reporter Denise Grones.

Scalia was addressing students at Presbyterian Christian High School at the time.

Both the AP and the American sued the Marshals Service and won. Scalia later apologized to the reporters and their recorders were returned.

According to a Hattiesburg American reader who commented on the article:

This man is a public figure and has problems with being photographed during a public speech? My daughter attended this speech and said he was arrogant, condescending, repetitive and seemed to be completely self-absorbed. Since she has little patience for political rhetoric, she may have been a bit harsh.

Or maybe she was just being honest.

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I am a multimedia journalist who has been fighting a lengthy legal battle after having photographed Miami police against their wishes in Feb. 2007. Please help the fight by donating to my Legal Defense Fund in the top left sidebar, which helps pay for the thousands of dollars I’ve acrued in debt since my arrest. To keep updated on the latest articles, join my networks at Facebook, Twitter and Friendfeed.

About Carlos Miller

Carlos Miller is founder and publisher of Photography is Not a Crime, which began as a one-man blog in 2007 to document his trial after he was arrested for photographing police during a journalistic assignment. He is also the author of The Citizen Journalist's Photography Handbook, which can be purchased through Amazon.

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