Being a cop is a tough job, and it ought to come with a little bit of “leeway” in regards to certain laws that apply to ordinary folk. For instance, police officers are highly trained at operating their vehicles, so they shouldn’t get tickets if they drive over the speed limit and run lights or whatever. And their work is very high-pressure, so they ought to be allowed to send dozens of erotic text messages to their mistresses on their departmentally owned electronic thingies, safe in the knowledge that the police chief won’t be pulling up all these digital love notes for an afternoon of languorous masturbation. Why do the actual Luddites who sit on the Supreme Court hate our 9/11 police heroes?
You know hard it is to get a man’s girlfriend and his wife to take the same side in a lawsuit? Well, that’s what SWAT Officer James Quon’s boss pulled off, by reading the text messages he sent to both of them from his pager (pager?), describing all the sex stuff he wanted to do to their lady parts. Yet the Supreme Court voted 9-0 to reject the suit! Does this mean that your boss can legally get all up in your business and read everything on the password-protected Riker/Data slashfic site that you’ve been secretly hosting on company servers?
Well, probably not, because Anthony Kennedy is such a wuss. He just went on and on about how technology is scary and confusing and please don’t try to make this a precedent because God knows by the time the next case like it comes down the line there’ll be some new gizmos that are even harder for the Olds on the court to understand. (Scalia, to his credit, wrote a separate opinion, just to laugh at this pathetic attitude.) The oral arguments in the case were full of hilarious moments of tech confusion, during which John Roberts asked what the difference was between email and a pager, and Kennedy wondered what would happen if you texted someone and someone else texted you simultaneously, and Scalia demanded a printout of Quon’s “spicy little conversations” (for Clarence Thomas).
Kennedy did ever so gently suggest that maybe, because cell phones are so damn cheap now, you should get your own if you’re going to be sending out sexts rather than using the one from work. But whatever, combine this with the 2006 ruling that says you can’t just leave porn all over your work computer and you’ll realize that the Supreme Court doesn’t want you being aroused at work, at all, which is probably OK because everyone is unemployed now anyway. [NYT/WSJ/ATL]