March 24, 2014
At an event at Brooklyn Law School this weekend, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia hinted that the Supreme Court may review the National Security Agency’s rampant spying on Americans’ phone calls and Internet use that was revealed by Edward Snowden.
Justice Scalia, a guest at Brooklyn Law School for a talk on constitutional interpretation with Judge Andrew Napolitano, responded to an inquiry about the freedom of speech by joking that talking about the NSA could “get myself recused.” He was asked, “How expansive can an Antonin Scalia in 2014 interpret the freedom of speech? Does it pertain to cellphones or does it matter where you’re physically located when you’re using the cellphone?”
These questions triggered a classic answer from the Justice on originalism: the fact that technology has changed does not alter the meaning of the text of the First Amendment. “It doesn’t matter whether you’re speaking in semaphore or a cellphone or any type of modern technology. You apply the same First Amendment principals [sic] to the new technology that you applied to the old. And the same for reasonable searches and seizures,” he added, according to Politicker.