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Roberts commends courthouses for their ability to adapt amid the pandemic

Roberts commends courthouses for their ability to adapt amid the pandemic
© Greg Nash

Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts praised U.S. courts for their ability to adapt and continue working during the pandemic in his year-end message Thursday.

Courthouses across the country were forced to close in March as the pandemic spread across the U.S., leaving many to operate through video conferences and teleconferences, according to NBC News

Roberts commended the work these courts have done writing, "Judges from around the country report that, where jury trials have resumed, responses to jury summonses have met or exceeded their high hopes for the public's willingness to participate in the legal system during these very challenging times.”

Roberts added that judges across the country were able to ensure public proceedings occurred without endangering the public. 

"Much of this work is not glamorous, but it is essential, and it got done," he said. 

The Supreme Court was one of the first courts to cancel in-person sitting, according to NBC, hearing oral arguments through telephone conferences.

“We moved the weight of our attorney filings and opinion announcements online. And in May we held oral argument by teleconference for the first time. Although we look forward to returning to normal sittings in our Courtroom, we have been able to stay current in our work," Roberts said.

Roberts notes that this year was the first time in over a century that the Supreme Court had to respond to a public health emergency of this magnitude.

"In focusing on the dedicated work in courts, I do not want to minimize the hardships and suffering caused by the pandemic. Like others throughout the country, judiciary employees have contended with illness and loss. My thoughts are with them," Roberts said.

"This year, more than ever, I am privileged and honored to thank all of the judges, court staff, and other judicial branch personnel throughout the Nation for their outstanding service," he added.