Home » important » Supreme Court postpones more arguments amid coronavirus outbreak

Supreme Court postpones more arguments amid coronavirus outbreak

The Supreme Court has postponed the remainder of its cases that were set to be argued this term, leaving open the possibility that a number of high-profile disputes could go unresolved into the fall.
Among the cases put off Friday were a fight over the Trump administration’s policy offering exemptions from Obamacare to religious objectors and another over states’ power to control the votes of presidential electors.
The cases were set to be argued during the court’s final scheduled round of arguments in late April. The court previously postponed cases from its March sitting, including disputes over efforts by House committees and a New York grand jury to subpoena President Donald Trump’s financial records.
The statement issued by the high court Friday was vague about whether it might use unconventional methods to hold arguments in some of the cases but suggested that some of the disputes will be put off until the next term, which begins in October.
“The Court will consider rescheduling some cases from the March and April sessions before the end of the Term, if circumstances permit in light of public health and safety guidance at that time,” the statement said. “The Court will consider a range of scheduling options and other alternatives if arguments cannot be held in the Courtroom before the end of the Term.”
The justices’ statement stressed that they’re continuing with day-to-day work and they vowed to resolve all cases already argued. For the past two weeks, the court has released opinions online without physically taking the bench.
Chief Justice John Roberts has been convening the justices’ private conferences from the court, with other justices joining remotely, according to a court spokesperson.
The coronavirus’ disproportionate impact on the elderly has raised concerns about the justices, six of whom are 65 or older. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 87 and has suffered from several bouts of cancer. Justice Stephen Breyer is 81.
All the justices are in good health, a spokesperson told reporters Friday.
Transparency advocates are urging the court to use audio or video conference technology to proceed with arguments — something many justices may be reluctant to do because of their longstanding resistance to camera coverage of the court’s proceedings.
“This is getting ridiculous. If the Supreme Court can conduct its weekly conferences remotely, which it has been doing for weeks, it can conduct its remaining arguments remotely and allow the public to listen in,” said Gabe Roth, executive director of the website Fix the Court.
“The country has adapted to working over Zoom, Skype and Google Hangouts, and dozens of state and federal courts are keeping the wheels of justice moving via teleconferencing in spite of the pandemic. The Supreme Court should be no different,” Roth added.