Washington – Hello? Justice Stephen Breyer’s Cellphone Rings In Court

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    United States Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer listens during a forum called From the Bench to the Sketchbook at the French Cultural Center, Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, in Boston. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)Washington – Even Supreme Court justices forget to turn off their cellphones.

    A high court argument on Tuesday was interrupted by the familiar sound of a ring chime, and Justice Stephen Breyer seemed to be the culprit.

    A mildly embarrassed Breyer quickly appeared to reach down to turn it off as a majority of his colleagues on the bench broke into smiles. Justice Samuel Alito struggled to suppress a laugh.

    Cellphones and other electronic devices are strictly forbidden in the ornate courtroom — a rule that includes observers and lawyers arguing before the court, but apparently not the justices themselves.

    Breyer and seatmate Justices Clarence Thomas shared a quick laugh about the incident. But it didn’t fluster lawyer Neal Katyal, who was in the middle of answering a question.

    Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg later called the incident an “oversight” and said Breyer doesn’t usually take his phone in to the courtroom.

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    2 COMMENTS

    1. Why is this story even news? How many times have we been in Shul during the week, when some inconsiderate person’s loud cell phone goes off, during davening? Those phone can go off during the Schmoneh Esray, or during the reading of the Torah. It is extremely annoying and distracting; some people are just too lazy to turn off their phones, before davening. Some Shul’s will even fine people, for having the cell phones go off during services. One time, a Russian came to Shul on Shabbos, and his cell phone went off! I invited that character to leave! What chutzpah!

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