The Supreme Court announced it would postpone arguments for late March and early April because of the coronavirus pandemic. No new dates for the postponed arguments have been set at this time. Among the high-profile cases to be postponed was the March 31 argument on President Donald Trump’s refusal to release his financial records, including his tax returns.
Some functions will continue; the justices will hold a regularly scheduled conference on March 20, for example, and other orders will be released by next week.
“The Building will continue to be open for official business, and filing deadlines are not extended under Rule 30.1,” the Court said in a press release. “The Court is expanding remote working capabilities to reduce the number of employees in the Building, consistent with public health guidance. The Building will remain closed to the public until further notice.”
The postponements are a pragmatic decision in light of the public health crisis that has claimed 71 lives across the United States to date. Six of the nine justices are age 65 or older and are at high risk of developing severe cases of the coronavirus, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.
The Court noted in its press release that its “postponement of argument sessions in light of public health concerns is not unprecedented.”
“The Court postponed scheduled arguments for October 1918 in response to the Spanish flu epidemic. The Court also shortened its argument calendars in August 1793 and August 1798 in response to yellow fever outbreaks,” according to the release.