Originalism and cell phone unlocking

In a case raising some of the same issues as the dispute over forcing Apple to unlock the San Bernardino killer’s iPhone, a federal magistrate judge in New York has ruled that the All Writs Act does not empower courts to order the unlocking of an alleged drug dealer’s phone. The legal issues are complex, but — I argue in a short piece at Ricochet — belie the notion that originalism in judicial interpretation is going to fade away with Justice Scalia no longer on the Supreme Court. More background: Sarah Jeong.


  • Good riddance. I can’t see the wisdom in trying to read the minds of slave owners as the final word on anything. The Constitution has long been our blueprint without trying to do what originalism seeks.

  • Well Ron, while I agree that slavery was and is reprehensible, I’m not sure how that negates the phenomenal framework they gave us.