tuesday, 14 april of 2020


Supreme Court to hold arguments by teleconference: US

The U.S. Supreme Court will hold oral arguments by teleconference next month due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, with all nine justices and counsel participating remotely in what will be a bold new experiment for an institution not known for its technical prowess.

The Supreme Court postponed its original March and April oral argument sessions in recent weeks due to the danger that the coronavirus pandemic posed to large gatherings in tight quarters. On Monday, the court announced that it has rescheduled around half of the cases from both of those sessions for argument by teleconference from May 4 to May 12.

"In keeping with public health guidance in response to COVID-19, the justices and counsel will all participate remotely," Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg said in a statement. "The court anticipates providing a live audio feed of these arguments to news media. Details will be shared as they become available."

The court's indication that it would provide the audio feed to the news media drew criticism from some who said the cases should be broadcast to the public.

"This type of exclusion is patronizing and unjustifiable," said Gabe Roth of the judicial watchdog group Fix the Court.

Among the newly rescheduled cases is a high-profile battle over access to President Donald Trump’s financial records, in which the president is fighting subpoenas from House Democrats and the Manhattan district attorney's office. The cases are Trump v. Vance, Trump v. Mazars USA LLP and Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG.

The court will also teleconference arguments in a pair of consolidated cases examining the lawfulness of religious and moral exemptions from the Affordable Care Act's requirement for employer health plans to cover birth control. The cases are Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania and Trump v. Pennsylvania.

Another notable, if less well-known, case that has now been rescheduled for teleconference is McGirt v. Oklahoma, involving the historic boundary of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation's reservation in Oklahoma and who should exercise jurisdiction there.

All of the cases that have been rescheduled are McGirt v. Oklahoma; United States Patent and Trademark Office v. Booking.com BV; Agency for International Development v. Alliance for Open Society International Inc.; Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru; St. James School v. Biel; Little Sisters of the Poor Saints Peter and Paul Home v. Pennsylvania; Trump v. Pennsylvania; Chiafalo v. Washington; Colorado Department of State v. Baca; Barr v. American Association of Political Consultants Inc.; Trump v. Vance; Trump v. Mazars USA LLP; and Trump v. Deutsche Bank AG.

The court did not assign specific dates to the cases, saying it will do so after confirming the availability of counsel.

It is unclear whether the remaining cases the court was supposed to hear this term will be reset for teleconference arguments before the end of the term.

(Published by Law360 and Reuters, April 13, 2020)

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