UPDATE 1-U.S. Supreme Court extends pandemic-related restrictions
WASHINGTON, Sept 16- The U.S. Supreme Court will remain closed to the public and will conduct its October oral arguments by teleconference as it extended its coronavirus-related restrictions into its new term, a court spokeswoman said on Wednesday. The coming term begins on Oct. 5 and is due to run through June 2021. A case that could decide the fate of the 2010…
By Lawrence Hurley
WASHINGTON, Sept 16 (Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court willremain closed to the public and will conduct its October oralarguments by teleconference as it extended itscoronavirus-related restrictions into its new term, a courtspokeswoman said on Wednesday.
The court’s announcement means that members of the publiccannot tour the building and lawyers will present their oralarguments by phone instead of in the courtroom itself. The courtfor the first time heard arguments by teleconference in May as aprecaution against the spread of the pathogen.
“The court will continue to closely monitor public healthguidance in determining plans for the November and Decemberargument sessions,” spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said.
The coming term begins on Oct. 5 and is due to run throughJune 2021.
A case that could decide the fate of the 2010 AffordableCare Act healthcare law, often called Obamacare, is scheduled tobe argued on Nov. 10, a week after the U.S. election in whichPresident Donald Trump is seeking a second term in office.Republican-led states backed by Trump’s administration areasking for the law to be struck down.
The court closed its building in March due to the pandemic.In-person oral arguments in March and April werecanceled and the court instead heard 10 cases by teleconferencein May without any major technological hitches.
In another break from tradition, a live audio feed was madeavailable to the public, and that procedure will continue inOctober, Arberg said.
The coronavirus has proven to be particularly dangerous inelderly people, especially those with underlying medical issues.Four of the nine justices are 70 or older: Ruth Bader Ginsburg(87), Stephen Breyer (82), Clarence Thomas (72) and Samuel Alito(70).
Ginsburg, the senior liberal justice, announced in July thatshe was receiving chemotherapy treatment for a recurrence ofcancer. Oncologists said the information Ginsburg made publicabout her condition indicated she had experienced a spread ofpancreatic cancer.
(Reporting by Lawrence Hurley in Washington and Andrew Chung inNew York; Editing by Will Dunham)
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