x
Breaking News
More () »

Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Supreme Court to stick with arguments via telephone, for now

The court held arguments by telephone in May for the first time, and made the audio available live, also a first for the tradition-bound court.

WASHINGTON D.C., DC — Editor's Note: The video above is from July 17, 2020.

The Supreme Court said Wednesday it will start its new term next month the way it ended the last one, with arguments by telephone because of the coronavirus pandemic and live audio available to the public.

With 87-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg being treated for cancer and five of her colleagues also age 65 or older, the court is taking no chances that putting the justices in close proximity to each other might make them more vulnerable to catching the virus.

“In keeping with public health guidance in response to COVID-19, the Justices and counsel will all participate remotely," the court said in a statement. The court will decide at a later date how to hold arguments in November and December.

The court held arguments by telephone in May for the first time, and made the audio available live, also a first for the tradition-bound court.

RELATED: Trump releases list of 20 new possible Supreme Court picks

RELATED: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says cancer has returned, but has no plans to retire

All the justices asked questions during 10 arguments, even the normally taciturn Clarence Thomas. Ginsburg took part from a hospital room one day when she was being treated for possible infection.

She withheld her latest cancer diagnosis until after the term ended in mid-July, when she said she was undergoing chemotherapy for lesions on her liver, but planned to continue serving on the court.

Credit: AP
The sun rises behind the Supreme Court on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 29, 2020.

RELATED: Court: Trump can end temporary legal status for 4 countries

RELATED: Judges: President Trump can't exclude illegal residents from district drawings

RELATED: Presiding justice: RBG officiates family friend's wedding