While this story about the Supreme Court Justices’ apparently unfamiliarity with the world of texting fails to live up to its billing (not that the malicious care about the facts, mind you), we ought to actually consider how the jurisprudence of the Justices might inform their texting.
Both the Chief and Justice Alito would likely write their texts so as to go beyond the narrow confines of individual texting threads. (This, of course, contrasts with the minimalist approach to texting that would be taken by someone like Cass Sunstein.) Justice Scalia would tend to leave alone various interpretations already established in a texting thread, even if they conflicted with the original public meaning of the thread, and the various abbreviations (“LOL,” “l8ter,” etc.) contained therein. Justice Thomas would probably be more likely to overturn those interpretations, but it should be noted that he would vastly prefer texting to actually speaking on the phone.
Justice Breyer would urge us to consider the substance of the texting plans of foreign cell phone carriers. Justice Ginsburg would allow for the abortion of one’s cell phone contract. Justice Sotomayor would not be tripped up by the world of texting, since she is so wise. Justice Stevens would regale us with stories of the times when he got text messages from Tokyo Rose.
Finally, Justice Kennedy’s texts would consist of repeated uses of the word “pudding.”
(Nota Bene: No law clerks were harmed in the writing of this blog post.)