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Rehnquist, Scalia Supreme Court

July 07, 1986

The following account of an opinion, written by Judge Antonin Scalia, appeared in Calendar (June 20), just three days after his nomination. The opinion reads that the Justice Department may label as "political propaganda" three Canadian films dealing with the subjects of nuclear war and acid rain. I agree with Jack Valenti that the government should not label "anything that the American people see, hear or read." I believe that such labeling is indeed "censorship." Such classification as "political propaganda" would discourage people from distributing or viewing the films. Any administration that finds certain materials offensive could persuade the Justice Department to label them as "propaganda," thus controlling the media, as is done in Soviet Union.

In a year when the bicentennial of the Constitution is about to be celebrated, at a time when the chief justice has resigned in order to supervise that celebration, it deserves a careful rereading by all of us. Civil liberties, once lost, or ignored, are seldom re-established. Little by little, the Germans lost theirs under Hitler. Each day, the South Africans are losing theirs. It can happen here. Constant vigilance is the price of liberty. I hope our senators keep this in mind when they consider the nomination of Judge Antonin Scalia to the Supreme Court.

BARBARA G. RADER

Spring Valley

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