The Supreme Court returns to the arguments in person
(WASHINGTON) – The Supreme Court returns to its iconic courtroom in October to hear oral arguments in person for the first time since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic forced judges to conduct cases by telephone.
Pleadings scheduled for the October, November and December sessions will take place in the courtroom with limited access to essential court staff, lawyers and journalists, the court said on Wednesday.
Judges began meeting in person in April for private meetings to discuss cases, and all nine judges are fully vaccinated. But with the coronavirus pandemic continuing and an increase in the number of cases due to the delta variant, the court will remain closed to the public.
While oral argument has been held over the phone for the past year and a half, real-time oral argument has been made available to the media for viewing to the public. The court predicts that will not change with a return to in-person operations, according to the announcement.
This marks a major change in court transparency because before the pandemic, only people sitting in the courtroom had real-time access to the proceedings. Audio recordings of the pleadings were made available to the public at the end of each week, and the transcripts of the pleadings were made available the same day.
The court that returns to the bench in October is not the same one that left in March 2020. Prior to the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg in September of last year, the court’s Tories held a narrow majority of 5- 4.
Now, the Tories have a powerful 6-3 majority after Amy Coney Barrett, appointed by former President Donald Trump, was confirmed about a week before the 2020 presidential election – sparking an uproar among Democrats in About the last minute appointment. Coney Barret has yet to hear any arguments in person since joining the court.
The court will return from its summer recess to hear arguments on October 4 in the Mississippi v. Tennessee, which will determine whether Mississippi has sole control of the state’s groundwater, and Wooden v. United States, which will determine whether crimes committed in a sequential party are considered separate occasions, according to SCOTUSblog.
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