Hello? Justice Stephen Breyer's Cellphone Rings in Court - NBC Bay Area
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Hello? Justice Stephen Breyer's Cellphone Rings in Court

Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg later called the incident an "oversight"

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    Hello? Justice Stephen Breyer's Cellphone Rings in Court
    Getty Images
    File photo of Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.

    Even Supreme Court justices forget to turn off their cellphones.

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

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    Breyer and fellow Justice 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 into the courtroom.