the supremes

Supreme Court Justices Do Not E-mail Each Other

Photo: Corbis

Being a member of the Supreme Court is a fancy job, and half of the people currently doing it are well past standard retirement age, so it’s not too surprising to hear that the justices’ workdays are not filled with the pinging of Outlook and Gchat. As Elena Kagan — who at 53-years-old is the youngest Supreme — said at an event in Rhode Island, “The justices are not necessarily the most technologically sophisticated people … The court hasn’t really ‘gotten to’ email.” Instead, they communicate the very old-fashioned way, with memos printed on ivory paper and delivered by “chambers aides.”

When asked if the judges’ limited tech savvy might make it harder for them to evaluate inevitable cases related to privacy and electronic surveillance, Kagan explained that the Court’s clerks, who use e-mail like everyone else, are available to help their bosses understand the digital world. She also revealed that her colleagues are not above trying to gain first-hand experience, as they did when they made some “kind of hilarious” attempts at playing the violent video games the Court eventually ruled could be sold to children. Perhaps Ruth Bader Ginsburg will see how popular she is on the Internet one day.