U.S. Supreme Court Justice Breyer on Twitter

April 14, 2011

The U.S. Supreme Court does not have an official Twitter account, but this just in — Justice Stephen Breyer is on Twitter and Facebook. But he is not revealing details of arguments or rulings.

USA-COURT/He told a congressional hearing on the Supreme Court’s budget that he has a Twitter account because of his interest in the protests in Iran after the 2009 presidential election. Twitter represented one of the best ways of learning what was happening in that country.

Since then, Breyer said he has received requests to follow him on Twitter, but has turned them down. The same applies to Facebook.

“It’s probably not a good idea,” he said of making public comments on social media sites. Breyer said judges generally should be anonymous and that he only communicates with his children through Twitter and Facebook.

At the hearing, Congressman Steve Womack, a Republican from Arkansas, brought up the issue of social media and asked whether the justices can tweet if they wanted to.

Justice Anthony Kennedy did not answer that question, but said he had the sense that the Supreme Court’s work was discussed in social media. “That’s good,” he said.

Congresswoman Jo Ann Emerson, the appropriations subcommittee chairwoman, said the questions showed how the times have changed. “I never thought we would ask Supreme Court justices about their tweeting,” she said as the hearing ended.

Photo credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque (Breyter testifying at congressional hearing in May 2010)

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