Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy wants to set the record straight: reports that he demanded pre-approval before a student newspaper could publish a story about his recent visit to the school are not true. So please, everyone, calm down.
“The press loves to point out that people have double standards,” Kennedy said of the outrage after a New York Times piece stated that “Justice Kennedy’s office had insisted on approving any article about a talk he gave.”
“There was a clear suggestion that was based on a factual premise that was wrong” in the story, Kennedy said later — namely that he wanted to edit what the students wrote in the paper before it was published.
Word of the justice’s apparent practice of prior restraint spread across the blogosphere quickly after the Times story, with some commentators blasting the justice for preaching freedom of the press from the bench, but practicing something else outside the courtroom.
When the Times story fist ran, DC Dicta wondered if perhaps Kennedy was media shy after a recent misquote by a student newspaper twisted the justice’s words and sentiment. But, it turns out, the whole thing was a misunderstanding.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the justice never asked to check the story before publication. A misunderstanding over a rule barring outside media, but not school publications, was at the root of the flap. But, Kennedy told the Journal‘s Jess Bravin that the whole thing left a bad taste in his mouth.
“My relatives call me from California, my family is all upset, and other people are calling me,” he told Bravin. “What a stupid story,” he said. “After 40 years of teaching, the only time it’s mentioned is that I have a double standard, which is just not true.”