I ended a post last week about two upcoming Supreme Court cases with a joke about Justice Steven Breyer’s lack of familiarity with his smart phone, and the question, “Is the Court stumbling into the 21st Century?”
It’s no joke.
Last year, the newest and youngest justice, Elena Kagan, had this to say about technology and the Court.
“The justices are not necessarily the most technologically sophisticated people,” the high court’s newest and youngest justice said. While clerks regularly email each other, the court as a whole “hasn’t really ‘gotten to’ email.”
Although Kagan says she’s regularly online, she, and the “younger” justices are “challenged” by Facebook and Twitter.
In 2010, Justice Breyer recognized the problem in applying the law to a world he barely recognizes.
“If I’m applying the First Amendment, I have to apply it to a world where there’s an Internet, and there’s Facebook. And there are movies like The Social Network, which I couldn’t even understand.”
They may sound like a slapstick routine when talking about tech, but technology is not the real devil in this Court’s details. Invariably, the Supremes apply a political (broadly speaking) interpretation of the law, not one based in technology.
Which is the real problem.