SCOTUS releases COVID-19 procedures for oral arguments

The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) on Sept. 27 released new procedures for oral arguments during the October, November, and December sittings of the 2021-2022 term, in accordance with the court’s COVID-19 protocols.

According to the clerk of court’s announcement:

  1. Arguing counsel attending arguments are required to take a COVID test the morning before argument.
  2. Arguing counsel who test positive for COVID will participate in arguments remotely via teleconference.
  3. Arguing counsel will be apprised of courtroom procedures and may ask questions prior to arguments in the court’s lawyer’s lounge. Argument audio will be made available in the lawyer’s lounge. Counsel in the first case argued for the day must leave the court building after arguments in their case conclude.
  4. Counsel are required to wear masks covering their noses and mouths at all times while within the court building, except when eating or drinking. Counsel are required to wear N95 or KN95 masks in the courtroom, except when presenting arguments. Masks will be provided by the court.

SCOTUS announced on Sept. 8 that the court would hear oral arguments in person for the first time since March 4, 2020. Argument audio will be streamed live to the public, following the precedent set during the 2020-2021 term. Audio files and argument transcripts will be posted on the Court’s website following oral argument each day.

The Supreme Court’s October sitting is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 4. Nine cases have been scheduled for a total of nine hours of oral argument. 

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