Politics

Supreme Courtroom is because of maintain telephone hearings on Covid-19, together with the Obamacare case, by the top of the yr

A man drives past the U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington on June 25, 2020.

Al Drago | Reuters

The Supreme Court said Friday that because of the coronavirus pandemic, it will continue to listen to arguments remotely over the phone for at least the rest of the year.

Still, the prospect of returning to the courtroom in January was raised.

That announcement means the Supreme Court will hear arguments remotely on Nov. 10 in a case that could result in the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

The decision to continue arguing by phone was expected.

The Supreme Court began remote hearing of cases last spring as the Covid-19 pandemic spread across the United States. The hearings can be heard by the public on online live media streams.

"The Court will hear all oral submissions scheduled for the November and December sessions by conference call using the same format as used for the October conference call arguments," said a statement from the court's press office.

"In accordance with public health guidelines in response to COVID-19, judges and lawyers will all attend remotely. The courthouse will only remain open for official business and will remain closed to the public until further notice."

The statement added: "The Court will continue to closely monitor the public health guidelines in setting the plans for the January argumentation meeting."

The Supreme Court began its current term this week. Due to Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death last month, the court currently only has eight judges.

Facing a tough re-election challenge from Democratic candidate Joe Biden, President Donald Trump has appointed a Conservative Appeals Court judge, Amy Coney Barrett, to replace Liberal Ginsburg.

The White House event, at which Trump officially announced Barrett's nomination two weeks ago, is considered a superspreader event as several attendees, including President and First Lady Melania Trump, tested positive for coronavirus.

Other participants who tested positive included White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two deputy press officers, former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, ex-Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway, and Rev. John Jenkins, the President from Notre Dame University.

Two Republican senators serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Mike Lee from Utah and Thom Tillis from North Carolina, were also diagnosed with Covid-19 after attending the event.

The Justice Committee is responsible for reviewing Barrett's nomination before it is sent to the entire Senate for review.

Confirmation hearings for Barrett are set to begin Monday.

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