WASHINGTON — After a two-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. Supreme Court resumes oral arguments Monday, using 20th century technology to help resolve a 21st century legal issue.
The justices will not gather in their marble courtroom but will instead participate in a telephone conference call, with lawyers involved in the case and members of the court dialing in separately — a first for the Supreme Court. After brief opening statements from the lawyers, the justices will ask their questions, beginning with Chief Justice John Roberts and proceeding in reverse order of seniority, ending with Brett Kavanaugh.
Cases scheduled for argument in March and April were postponed because of the pandemic. Roughly half of them will be heard in May. The rest were carried over to the next term beginning in the fall. Two of the biggest cases, involving access to President Donald Trump’s taxes and the role of the electors who cast the actual vote for president, will be argued by conference call May 12 and 13.
The Supreme Court building has been closed to the public since March 12, but the court has continued to conduct business, issuing 18 decisions with most of the staff and many of the justices working from home.