The Supreme Court will not reconvene this term to hear oral arguments in person. On April 13, the nation’s highest court announced it will hear remote oral arguments in select cases in May. The 10 remaining cases will be pushed to next term.
Live Streaming Oral Arguments
Notably, the oral arguments will be live streamed, according to the press release. While the court will occasionally post oral arguments on the same day, and transcripts are routinely available within hours, Chief Justice John Roberts has been reluctant to allow live feeds, saying that “it has the potential to hurt the court” by having counsel and justices “play to the audience.” The Chief Justice has argued the transcripts and recordings posted the Friday after oral arguments provide enough transparency.
It appears that the novel coronavirus has forced the Supreme Court to at least temporarily allow access to the public.
What Cases Will Be Heard?
Perhaps the most notable cases to be heard in a couple of weeks will involve President Trump’s financial records. That these cases will be heard is unsurprising, since both Trump v. Vance and Trump v. Mazars USA, LLP, are already on an accelerated timeline. Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance agreed to not seek enforcement of the Second Circuit’s ruling that President Trump had to provide the DA with a copy of his tax returns related to an investigation of potential violations of campaign finance laws, provided the Supreme Court heard the appeal this term.
Other cases include a question about whether electors must vote in line with their state’s popular vote, whether adding .com to a generic top-level domain can create a trademark, and whether the First Amendment prohibits courts from interfering in employment disputes involving religious institutions.
Will Live Tweeting SCOTUS Become a Thing?
The Supreme Court has yet to announce the exact schedule but will hear oral arguments Monday through Wednesday the first two full weeks of May.
Considering the importance of some of the remaining cases (and since we’re all at home anyway) it is not unreasonable to think that some of the upcoming oral arguments will be the most listened to in U.S. history. One also wonders whether we will get a certain amount of live tweeting during oral arguments, particularly from President Trump, who has demonstrated a penchant for live tweeting legal proceedings in the past.