The coronavirus pandemic has put on indefinite hold a major portion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s docket, including a multibillion-dollar clash between software giants Google and Oracle Corp. and cases that could affect President
What was supposed to have been a drama-filled spring at the high court has instead become a season of waiting, especially for the lawyers and litigants in 20 arguments that had been scheduled for March and April. The court has postponed 11 of those cases and could do the same soon for the remaining nine.
The cases include fights over congressional and grand jury subpoenas for Trump’s financial records -- clashes that need to be resolved in the court’s current term to give the president’s critics any chance of seeing the documents before the November election. Also on hold is a clash over the Electoral College for presidential elections and an $8 billion copyright dispute between
It’s not clear whether the justices are still hoping to resolve those cases in their current term, possibly by forgoing argument or by breaking tradition and hearing arguments by phone or online. Lawyers say they’ve received no guidance from the court on the subject, though briefing deadlines are still in force. The term normally ends in late June, although that time frame is now in doubt as well.
“As far as oral arguments go, we’re just waiting upon the court,” said
Courtroom arguments are unlikely anytime soon. Elderly people are at increased risk of dying should they contract the coronavirus, and two justices are in their 80s --
The court is moving ahead with rulings in dozens of cases that have already been argued. The justices issued four opinions earlier this week and plan to issue more on Monday. All nine justices are healthy and took part in a scheduled private conference by phone Friday, spokeswoman
The grand jury subpoena case shows the difficulty of holding arguments in the near future. Sekulow’s adversary would be
And yet the subpoena
“Delaying this case is effectively picking a side,” seven liberal groups led by Demand Justice said Wednesday. “Every day that Trump is allowed to keep his tax returns secret is a day that he has won and the public has lost.”
Similarly, the court had been aiming to resolve
“We’ve gotten no indication about whether it’s going forward,” said
Google and Oracle
Other cases could more easily be deferred until the new term opens in October. That includes Google’s
“The chief justice certainly knows how much time it takes to prepare to stand up in the Supreme Court,” he said.
(Updates seventh paragraph to show opinions will be released Monday, justices are healthy)
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