Can you apply old law to new technology?

This is a question that the Justice Stephen Breyer of the United States Supreme Court is having troubles with in the Astrue vs. Capato case heard by the Justices on Monday, March 19th. The case was brought by the mother of twins who were denied Social Security benefits because their father died before they were born or even conceived.

Prior to his death, Robert Capato deposited semen in a sperm bank. The twins were born through in-vitro fertilization 18 months after their father died of cancer.

When Karen Capato applied for benefits for the twins, the Social Security Commission determined that the twins weren’t heirs at the time of the father’s death so they did not qualify for survivor benefits.

This case has many people wondering how the highest court in the country will rule. Chief Justice John Roberts may have tipped his hat when he told Capato’s legal counsel that the court usually defers to a government agency when its interpretation of the law is reasonable. “You lose if the statute is ambiguous,” he said.

Read more on the others who are watching this case.