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News Link • Justice and Judges

The Supreme Court's baffling tech illiteracy is becoming a big problem


This week was a huge one for technology at the Supreme Court. The Court issued three opinions — Riley v. California, United States v. Wurie, and American Broadcasting Companies, Inc. v. Aereo — that taken together served as an endorsement of cell phone privacy and a condemnation of the online retransmission of TV shows to paid subscribers.

The months leading up to the decisions had been a rough ride for the justices. Following oral arguments for these cases, they were called "black-robed techno-fogeys." They were ranked based on technological incompetence. Their discussions of "the cloud" became the soundtrack for a comical YouTube video, and the blogosphere cringed when Chief Justice John Roberts learned, for the first time, that some people carry more than one cell phone. So, was all that nervous taunting warranted?

Well, yes, but not for the reasons we thought.

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