US Supreme Court hearing interrupted by justice’s cellphone

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It appears cellphones are not allowed inside the US Supreme Court courtroom unless they’re brought in by a justice.

A ringing phone interrupted an argument in the high court on Tuesday, resulting in an unusual scene in the typically solemn hall, according to a report from The Associated Press.

Justice Stephen Breyer is said to have quickly moved to silence his device while a majority of his colleagues on the bench “broke into smiles.” Justice Samuel Alito “struggled to suppress a laugh,” while Breyer “shared a quick laugh” with Justice Clarence Thomas, the news organisation said.

Everyone, including observers and lawyers arguing before the court, are forbidden to bring cellphones and other electronic devices into the courtroom. People deposit cellphones and other devices in lockers before going through metal detectors to enter the courtroom.

Kathy Arberg, US Supreme Court spokeswoman, later said the incident was an oversight. Justice Breyer doesn’t usually bring his cellphone into the courtroom, she said.

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