When discussing technology and the Supreme Court, the two are not hand-in-hand at all. In fact, a photocopier did not arrive at the Supreme Court until 1969, a couple of years after the technology was released to the public, according to Talking Points Memo.
Many believe that the Supreme Court should not take on cases that involve technology or privacy because the justices do not use it themselves. For instance, instead of sending an email from one justice to another, they handwrite letters to each other.
Over the summer, Justice Elena Kagan said, “The justices are not necessarily the most technologically sophisticated people.”
All of this comes on the heels of the NSA program that has been revealed to have spied on dignitaries from across the globe. The Obama administration says that the program is needed to fight terrorism and will appeal rulings made against it. It seems as though the case against the NSA will hit the Supreme Court.
Justice Antonin Scalia thinks that the Supreme Court will hear the case when he held a question-and-answer session with a technology group over the summer.
“The consequence of that is that whether the NSA can do the stuff it’s been doing … which used to be a question for the people … will now be resolved by the branch of government that knows the least about the issues in question, the branch that knows the least about the extent of the threat against which the wiretapping is directed,” Scalia said.
On the same page with Scalia is Justice Samuel Alito. Alito feels that Congress is better prepared to tackle issues related to technology and privacy in modern-day.
“New technology may provide increased convenience or security at the expense of privacy, and many people may find the trade-off worthwhile,” Alito wrote in an opinion from 2012. He was joined by three other justices. “And even if the public does not welcome the diminution of privacy that new technology entails, they may eventually reconcile themselves to this development as inevitable. On the other hand, concern about new intrusions on privacy may spur the enactment of legislation to protect against these intrusions.”
Justice Sonia Sotomayor thinks that the court should edit its policies on privacy, which were created in the 1960s and 1970s.
“Perhaps, as Justice Alito notes, some people may find the ‘trade-off’ of privacy for convenience ‘worthwhile,’ or come to accept this ‘diminution of privacy’ as ‘inevitable,’ and perhaps not. I for one doubt that people would accept without complaint the warrantless disclosure to the government of a list of every website they had visited in the last week, or month, or year.”