Breyer uses Facebook as example of how 'originalism' doesn't work

By Kimberly Atkins

The Daily Record Newswire

The lack of tech savvy among justices of the Supreme Court has been well documented.

Now Justice Stephen Breyer admits that the concept of Facebook confounds him.

But he knows enough about it to use it as an example of why he believes the originalism approach to constitutional interpretation doesn't work.

''If I'm applying the First Amendment, I have to apply it to a world where there's an Internet, and there's Facebook, and there are movies like ... 'The Social Network,' which I couldn't even understand,'' Breyer said according to the AP, referring to the recent biopic about Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Noting that he and his high court benchmates aren't exactly on the cutting edge of online communication, Breyer added: ''It's quite clear, we don't have a Facebook page.''

But Breyer eschewed the approach to constitutional interpretation taken by some of his colleagues, such as Justice Antonin Scalia, which requires the document to be read according to the intent of the framers at the time.

''If you want to have history solve everything, let's get nine historians and not nine judges,'' Breyer said.

''And you'll discover that the nine historians are fighting about the various points on which these cases turn anyway.''

Published: Thu, Dec 9, 2010


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