The Supremes cut a tape, and Totenberg retreats to the bench

Politics | Familiarity
For the longest time I thought that every Supreme Court justice sounded like Nina Totenberg, and never interrupted each other. That all changed in the last two days. NPR’s legal affairs correspondent gave her commentary and then ran the tape. Souter, Scalia, Kennedy, Ginsburg, O’Connor, all let themselves be heard. It was like a Japanese citizen hearing the emporer’s voice for the first time after V-J day. The exchanges were fast but not furious, a little more intelligent than the Hardball slam-fest we’re used to.

According to CNN, this has happened four times before: twice dealing with the 2000 election recount, and last year on affirmative action and campaign-finace. I guess I never realized it at the time. Maybe I just recognized this for the first time yesterday, coming just a couple of weeks after a deputy marshal forced the erasure of tapes of two reporters who were covering a Scalia speech in a Mississippi (Scalia, who generally tries to prohibit people from taping his talks, subsequently apologized).