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Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia gave a rare lecture on the Constitution last night to members of Congress. The Tea Party caucus invited him, and that sparked some controversy. So some Democrats were invited, too.

Here's NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg.

NINA TOTENBERG: It could have been ugly. The blogosphere was bloviating about the appearance of partisanship. But the Tea Partiers, led by Representative Michele Bachmann, portrayed the event as respectful, and the handful of Democrats who attended agreed. Here's Republican Bachmann.

Representative MICHELE BACHMANN (Republican, Minnesota): We were delighted with his remarks, and then he opened up to questions, and both Democrats and Republicans stood up and asked questions of the justice.

TOTENBERG: Legal ethics experts, by and large, agreed that Scalia violated no ethics rules, especially since he's spoken to liberal groups in the past. Northwestern Law School legal ethics expert Steven Lubet.

Professor STEVEN LUBET (Legal Ethics Expert, Northwestern Law School): There's nothing wrong with it. At most, it's a question of prudence, not ethics. And though it seems to be controversial, it's really not any different than giving a lecture at a law school.

TOTENBERG: Stephen Gillers, a legal ethics specialist from NYU Law School, said he views Scalia's appearance as healthy, and said he hopes that the same group will invite other justices with views different from Scalia's.

Professor STEPHEN GILLERS (Legal Ethics Specialist, NYU Law School): So I think this is a good thing, and I think it should be encouraged and done maybe monthly, with a quiz at the end.

TOTENBERG: Meanwhile, another controversy has erupted over Justice Clarence Thomas' failure to disclose his wife's income on his financial disclosure forms. Over the weekend, the liberal watchdog group Common Cause reported that Thomas had failed to report nearly $700,000 paid to his wife over a four-year period by the conservative Heritage Foundation. And yesterday, the justice filed amendments to his financial disclosure forms, adding that information and more, covering his wife's income over a period of 13 years - all of it information required by the Ethics in Government Act.

Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington.

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