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Opening Arguments

Court papers

I don't think this is as big a deal as some people will make it out to be:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — The members of the Supreme Court continue to communicate with one another through memos printed on ivory paper even as they face the prospect of hearing cases related to emerging technology and electronic snooping in the years to come, Justice Elena Kagan said Tuesday.

The justices have a ways to go to understand technology such as Facebook, Twitter and even email, Kagan said in a conversation with Ted Widmer, a historian and librarian at Providence's Brown University who has been an adviser to Bill and Hillary Clinton.

As a matter of fact, it could be argued that's it better for the court to continue its fuddy-duddy analog ways. The communications revolution has been mostly about speed, and I don't think that's what we want in Supreme Court interactions. The time it takes to prepare, send and read a paper memo is time that can be used for reflection and contemplation. And I'm not sure it would be a good thing for a justice to be worrying about what his or her millions of Twitter followers will think about something.

I suppose it could be argued that the justices should at least be familiar with the technology that comes up in cases they consider. But it could also be argued that enduring principles (whiic is what we want the court to concentrate on)  are just that -- always true no matter what else changes.