POLITICS
04/25/2017 03:44 pm ET

Justice Breyer's Cellphone Went Off At The Worst Possible Time

When he was presiding over a case at the Supreme Court.

No electronics whatsoever are allowed in the hallowed courtroom of the nation’s highest court.

And yet somehow, Justice Stephen Breyer’s cellphone went off in the midst of Tuesday’s public hearing at the Supreme Court, as several reporters who cover the court observed on Twitter.

Breyer quickly moved to turn off the device, while his colleagues on the bench appeared amused by the incident, The Associated Press reported.

A Supreme Court spokeswoman confirmed that the episode was an “oversight” — the justice apparently forgot to take the phone out of his pocket before entering the courtroom.

Visitors and reporters who wish to witness oral arguments have to pass through metal detectors and undergo checks for prohibited items, like cellphones or cameras, which they must secure in lockers or in the pressroom prior to oral arguments.

The electronics ban is aimed at minimizing interruptions during the proceedings.

That hasn’t stopped at least one protester from smuggling in a portable device and even recording a YouTube video of a peaceful protest that coincided with the fifth anniversary of the controversial Citizens United ruling. 

That probably didn’t go over well with the justices, because security screenings prior to entering the courtroom have gotten tougher since then.

CONVERSATIONS