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 TrumpMeghan McCain: Democrats 'should give a little credit' to Trump for COVID-19 vaccine Trump testing czar warns lockdowns may be on table if people don't get vaccinated Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' 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.

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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.

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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 GinsburgBill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol Supreme Court's approval rating dips to 49 percent  Anti-abortion movement eyes its holy grail MORE, 87; Stephen BreyerStephen BreyerSenate panel votes to make women register for draft Biden's belated filibuster decision: A pretense of principle at work Klobuchar: If Breyer is going to retire from Supreme Court, it should be sooner rather than later MORE, 81; Clarence ThomasClarence ThomasAn obscure Supreme Court ruling is a cautionary tale of federal power Overnight Health Care: St. Louis reimposes mask mandate | Florida asks Supreme Court to block CDC's limits on cruise ship industry Florida asks Supreme Court to block CDC's limits on cruise ship industry MORE, 71; Samuel AlitoSamuel AlitoBill would honor Ginsburg, O'Connor with statues at Capitol No reason to pack the court Justice or just desserts? Trump, Cosby and Georgia cases show rising cost of political litigation MORE, 69; and John Roberts and Sonia SotomayorSonia SotomayorSenate panel votes to make women register for draft No reason to pack the court Supreme Court ruling opens door to more campaign finance challenges MORE, 65.

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