Reporters covering a suit against the scandal-plagued Washington Teachers’ Union got a lesson in the limits of the First Amendment Jan. 7. U.S. Marshall Richard K. Bowden informed media reps that interviews in the courthouse hallway were forbidden. After the befuddled Fourth Estaters set down their pens to comply, then resumed their conversations, Bowden reappeared and scolded them for failing to shut up altogether. “I’m not being coy,” Bowden said. “You know what an interview is.” According to Sheldon Snook, administrative assistant to Chief Judge Thomas F. Hogan, Bowden was using his discretion under a 25-year-old rule, put in place to prevent mob scenes, that confines interviews to a fourth-floor press room. How would Snook distinguish between a formal interview and chitchat? “I guess it’s like pornography,” Snook says. “I don’t know.” —David Morton