The justices will hold a face-to-face debate in the fall

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The judges have not been on the bench since March 2020, but they will return next month for face-to-face debates. (Stock_photo_world from Shutterstock)

this The Supreme Court announced on Wednesday The judge will return to court this fall for oral arguments. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, these arguments will not be made public. Instead, the court will provide live audio of the debate as it has done since May 2020.

For months, it was widely anticipated that the announcement of the fall oral debate.Many court observers had hoped that with the widespread use of the COVID-19 vaccine, judges would return to court, especially when Some federal appeals courts declared They intend to resume the face-to-face argument.However, the spread of highly contagious delta variants may complicate the judge’s decision, as the return to the “normal” format before COVID would involve More than 400 people squeezed into the court.

Instead, the judges chose a hybrid format that allowed them to use the unstructured methods they had historically used for oral arguments. Instead of taking turns asking questions like during the pandemic, When they cannot see the other party or the arguing lawyer over the phone. However, only court staff, debate lawyers, and journalists can participate in oral debates in person—a small percentage of the usual number of people present. Everyone else can listen to the audio of the debate in real time.

The last time the court had a face-to-face debate was on March 4, 2020, on High-profile abortion caseShortly after that argument, as the COVID spread across the United States, the judges cancelled the argument in March and April, and then switched to a fully virtual format in May 2020.

The judges who are in the last month of the summer recess will return to the bench for their first debate on October 4. 2021-22 semester.

This article is Originally published in Howe on the Court.

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