US Supreme Court Shuts Down For First Time In 100 Years Amid COVID-19 Outbreak

US News

Previously, US Supreme Court oral arguments were postponed in 1918 amid the Spanish flu epidemic, and calendars were shortened in 1793-98 due to yellow fever.

Written By Zaini Majeed | Mumbai | Updated On:
US Supreme Court

The US Supreme Court announced on March 16 that it was closing its door for the public until further notice out of “abundance of caution” due to the novel coronavirus. The decision comes for the first time in 100 years as the court will be suspending all oral arguments scheduled for the month of March, confirmed international reports. 

The court announcement read that in keeping with public health precautions recommended in response to COVID-19, it was postponing the oral arguments currently scheduled for the March session. It further added saying that the court will examine options for rescheduling certain cases in due course in light of the developing circumstances, a US media report confirmed. Previously, the oral arguments were postponed in 1918 amid the Spanish flu epidemic, and calendars were shortened in August 1793 and August 1798 in response to yellow fever outbreaks. 

Justices may have to participate by telephone

According to the reports, there are speculations that its regularly-scheduled private conference scheduled for this coming Friday and its order list for next Monday will occur, however, some Justices may have to participate by telephone. That involves  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. The high-profile cases such as President Donald Trump’s release of his tax returns and other financial documents had to be post-dated despite objections from the House of Representatives and a New York prosecutor.  

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Trump attorney, Jay Sekulow, told the international media the Supreme Court decided to take up three significant constitutional cases in December. He further added saying that Republicans look forward to presenting written and oral arguments. Arguments scheduled for High Courts for early April have also been reportedly postponed as federal and state courts across the United States curtailed operations due to coronavirus outbreak, as per the media reports. 

In New York, the state’s court system has severely curtailing operations, suspending evictions, cancelling jury duty and postponing all other non-essential functions starting at 5 pm, March 16, as per a news agency report. The court employees were instructed to stay indoor beginning today unless told otherwise. 

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(With inputs from AP)

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