Supremes don’t know from tech

Supremes don’t know from tech

[Ed. – But I bet all nine of them could use “Luddite” correctly in a sentence.]

One U.S. Supreme Court justice referred to Netflix as “Netflick.” Another seemed not to know that HBO is a cable channel. A third appeared to think most software coding could be tossed off in a mere weekend.

These and other apparent gaffes by the justices during oral arguments have became a source of bemused derision, as tech aficionados, legal experts and others have taken to social media, blogs, YouTube and other outlets to proclaim the justices black-robed techno-fogeys.

“Everyone who’s anyone inside that courtroom is most likely an incompetent Luddite,” Sarah Jeong, a 25-year-old Harvard Law School student, wrote on her personal blog following a recent Supreme Court argument dealing with a copyright dispute over TV online startup Aereo. …

In late April, Mashable.com ranked the justices on their perceived knowledge of technology, based on comments they made during oral arguments in the Aereo case. The question before the court in the case is whether Aereo, which charges users a low monthly fee to stream live broadcasts of TV channels, violates copyright law.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor was ranked number one, because she appeared to be familiar with such products as Roku Inc’s streaming video device and services that store files on the Internet, such as Apple Inc’s iCloud – although she was also the justice responsible for the “Netflick” comment.

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Ranked last, Justice Antonin Scalia was faulted for the HBO remark. Justice Breyer was somewhere in the middle. He was seen as being out of touch for making several references to “phonograph records.” …

Chief Justice John Roberts alarmed privacy advocates when he sharply questioned a lawyer about her assumption that many people carry more than one cellphone.

“What is your authority for the statement that many people have multiple cellphones on their person?” he asked Judith Mizner, a public defender arguing on behalf of a criminal defendant.

“That was definitely an odd moment,” said Orin Kerr, a professor at George Washington Law School.

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