Saturday, January 28, 2023

Who knew? Orating at the United States Supreme Court is a crime

UnknownBy: Tom Freeland,, Blogger
Here is a statute, 40 USC 6134, more honored in its breach than in its observance*:

It is unlawful to discharge a firearm, firework or explosive, set fire to a combustible, make a harangue or oration, or utter loud, threatening, or abusive language in the Supreme Court Building or grounds.

Maybe this statute is why Justice Scalia went off at a lawyer who appeared to be reading a speach, although I’d have to asked whether Justice Scalia’s outbursts would sometimes count as harangues.
I learned of this statute thanks to Mark Walsh at SCOTUS blog, who noted today a tightening of security after some video of arguments surfaced on the internet.  One of the videos showed the “harangue or oration” (so he was charged) by an audience member who jumped up and demanded Citizens United be overturned.
Also:  No setting off bottle rockets!
*I am apparently using this phrase of Hamlet’s wrong; it means “it is more honorable to break the rule than follow it,” and not, “most often the rule is broken not followed.”
Read more blog posts by Tom Freeland at his NMissCommentor blog page.