Scalia, Roberts Think Having Two Cell Phones Is Very Strange, Suspicious

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Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

Owning a second cell phone, like, say, a BlackBerry for work in addition to a better one for everything else, is not a concept familiar to the Supreme Court justices, never known for their technological acumen. During arguments today about the rights of police to search phones without a warrant following an arrest, Chief Justice Roberts, 59, and Justice Scalia, 78, expressed shock at the very idea, although the court "appeared wary" of granting "unlimited authority."

"Many people have ... multiple cell phones," said attorney Judith Mizner, to which Roberts replied, "Really?"

Scalia added that he'd never seen such a thing, according to the official transcript:

MS. MIZNER: Many people have more than — have multiple cell phones. I — there was no —

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Really? What is — what is your authority for the statement that many people have multiple cell phones on their person?

MS. MIZNER: Just observation. But —

JUSTICE SCALIA: You've observed different people from the people that I've observed.

(Laughter.)

MS. MIZNER: That's probably true.

CHIEF JUSTICE ROBERTS: Particularly since they're in their pockets, right?

The gap in tech knowledge, however, is bipartisan. "I don't know what kind of phone you have, Justice Breyer," said the Justice Department's attorney at one point. "I don't either," said the 75-year-old justice, "because I can never get into it because of the password."