The U.S. Supreme Court announced it was postponing the 11 hours of oral arguments originally scheduled during its March sitting. In a press release, the court said the delay was “in keeping with public health precautions recommended in response to COVID-19.”
The court has heard arguments in 59 of the 73 cases it accepted to hear this term. As of February 26, the court had issued decisions in 12 cases and dismissed one case without a decision this term.
The court had previously announced on March 12 that it was closing to the public indefinitely, beginning at 4:30 p.m. that day. The court posted on its website, “Out of concern for the health and safety of the public and Supreme Court employees, the Supreme Court Building will be closed to the public from 4:30 p.m. on March 12, 2020, until further notice.”
The court noted it planned to hold a private conference of the justices on March 20 and release orders from the conference on March 23.
The court last postponed arguments in October 1918 in response to the Spanish flu epidemic. In August 1793 and 1798, argument calendars were shortened in response to yellow fever outbreaks.