Over the past few days, there’s been a lot in the news about the release of Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun’s personal papers, and out of it all, NPR’s in-depth pieces have each risen to the top. I spent an extra precious few minutes in the shower yesterday morning so that I could catch the end of one of Nina Totenberg’s segments, and I find that I’m checking in to the NPR website a few times a day to see what else I’ve missed. As is typical of NPR’s coverage, the pieces plunge below the surface of the story, conveying details that don’t make it into the fifteen-second evening news blips or the six column-inch newspaper snippets; I laughed this morning when I learned that Blackmun and the other Justices pass notes up and down the bench (frequently not related whatsoever to the case being argued before them), and that Blackmun fell asleep on the bench at least once. (I also laughed that it was Blackmun’s own papers that ratted out his somnolence!) The well-produced pieces have made the difference between me appreciating the fact that the papers were released to me wanting to stop into the Library of Congress on our next trip down to Washington.


They have also been showing a lot of his interviews over on CSPAN. I am not sure if they are also in the online archives.

• Posted by: Paul on Mar 9, 2004, 2:13 PM

I, too, have been relishing the Totenberg reports on NPR on this topic. I regret that other justices might not be as open with their papers in the future as Justice Blackmun has been… they provide a truly fascinating behind-the-scenes look at history.

• Posted by: Laura on Mar 11, 2004, 3:27 PM
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