Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy Insists on Vetting Own Coverage in Student Newspaper

By
Anthony Kennedy
Photo: AFP

When Intel Chris was in high school, working on the school paper, he wanted to put a picture of a fat lady in tiny panties on the cover of a spoof issue tied to homecoming. The gag was that the principal of the rival school was caught auditioning for a sexy plus-size pinup calendar. It's a little hard to remember what we thought was so genius about that, but we swear, it was hilarious at the time ... The paper's adviser blocked the image, which led to a minor campuswide protest over free speech. (It may have just been Chris and the stoned sports editors of the paper; it's all so hard to remember.) At any rate, looking back, it was a pretty raunchy thing to try to put on the cover of a student paper at an uptight school, and the kind of thing you sort of understand that adults would want to vet. But today, the Times has a story about exactly the kind of thing you don't understand adults vetting in student papers.

Supreme Court justice and First Amendment champion Anthony Kennedy spoke at Dalton a couple of weeks ago, and students were surprised to discover that in the next edition of the Daltonian, the school newspaper, there was no article about him. "We are not able to cover the recent visit by a Supreme Court justice due to numerous publication constraints," read a note in the paper, promising "an explanation of the regrettable delay" eventually. Turns out, Kennedy's office had insisted that the student paper run the article by him before going to press. That's right, a student publication — which is not even online — was not allowed to report on a prepared speech.

According to the Times, Kennedy's office received the article, made "a couple of minor tweaks," and "tidied up"' some quotes to make them say what Kennedy had wanted them to say (not, necessarily, what he actually said). A spokesman for the Justice tried to explain the whole thing away, indicating that "the request was most likely made by a member of his staff in an effort to be helpful." But even so, a clerk or other Supreme Court staffer should have known better than to try to mess with a student publication and to send that message to young people eager to practice the art of journalism. Which is why we present to you now a Photoshopped image of Anthony Kennedy auditioning for a sexy plus-size pinup calendar. Because it's funny, dammit, and because we just wanted to remind those Dalton students: One day, kids, you'll be in charge. And then you can do anything you want.


From Justice Kennedy, a Lesson in Journalism [NYT]