Justice Scalia Speaks To Tea Party Caucus, Democrats The Supreme Court's outspoken conservative won praise from members of both parties who attended his speech on the Constitution.
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Justice Scalia Speaks To Tea Party Caucus, Democrats

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Justice Scalia Speaks To Tea Party Caucus, Democrats

Justice Scalia Speaks To Tea Party Caucus, Democrats

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STEVE INSKEEP, Host:

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.

TOTENBERG: 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.

INSKEEP: 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.

INSKEEP: 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: Nina Totenberg, NPR News, Washington.

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