Supreme Court postpones oral arguments amid coronavirus pandemic

The Supreme Court on Monday postponed oral arguments scheduled for its March session, including a potentially landmark dispute over subpoenas for President TrumpDonald John TrumpDonald Trump and Joe Biden create different narratives for the election The hollowing out of the CDC Poll: Biden widens lead over Trump to 10 points MORE’s financial records, amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.

A court spokeswoman said the move was “in keeping with public health precautions” in response to the outbreak, which has infected 18 people in Washington, D.C., and more than 3,800 nationwide.

“The court will examine the options for rescheduling those cases in due course in light of the developing circumstances,” the spokeswoman said.

ADVERTISEMENT

The postponement affects six days of oral arguments slated for late March and April 1, including a March 31 dispute involving efforts by House Democrats and New York state prosecutors to obtain years of Trump’s financial records and tax returns.

The court in a statement said that the postponement of argument sessions in light of public health concerns is not unprecedented.

"The Court postponed scheduled arguments for October 1918 in response to the Spanish flu epidemic," it said. "The Court also shortened its argument calendars in August 1793 and August 1798 in response to yellow fever outbreaks."

The Supreme Court building remains open for official business, including the justices’ regularly scheduled March 20 conference. Some justices may participate in that conference remotely by telephone, a spokeswoman said. The building remains closed to the public indefinitely.

“The court is expanding remote working capabilities to reduce the number of employees in the building, consistent with public health guidance,” the spokeswoman said.

ADVERTISEMENT

Six of the nine justices are age 65 or older, placing them in a population that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers to be at risk for serious illness from coronavirus.

The older justices are Ruth Bader GinsburgRuth Bader GinsburgSpeculation swirls about next Supreme Court vacancy Supreme Court divided over fight for Trump's financial records   Pandemic proves Justice Thomas does have something to say MORE, 87; Stephen BreyerStephen BreyerSpeculation swirls about next Supreme Court vacancy Pandemic proves Justice Thomas does have something to say Tech-averse Supreme Court broadcasts teleconference arguments MORE, 81; Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasSupreme Court denies California church's challenge to state restrictions The Hill's 12:30 Report - Presented by Facebook - Trump, Pence travel to Cape Canaveral for SpaceX launch Soured on Fox, Trump may be seeking new propaganda outlet MORE, 71; Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoSupreme Court denies California church's challenge to state restrictions Speculation swirls about next Supreme Court vacancy Supreme Court denies Trump officials' effort to block order on moving at-risk inmates MORE, 69; and John Roberts and Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorSpeculation swirls about next Supreme Court vacancy Supreme Court grapples with 'faithless electors' and Electoral College Our digital privacy is at stake in the Senate MORE, 65.

--This report was updated at 11:04 a.m.