OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
The U.S. Supreme Court has tragically been forced to postpone oral arguments scheduled to begin on March 23rd, despite their best efforts to continue with their work on the docket.
Now, the Supreme Court has released a short update confirming that “all Justices are healthy,” and that “opinions will be released 10am Monday, online – no hard copies.”
The justices are reportedly still participating in their regular conferences on ongoing cases, albeit by phone call, rather than meeting as a group.
The court closed its doors to the public early last week but planned to continue with regularly scheduled opening arguments. However, due to rising concerns about the vulnerability of most of the Justices to COVID-19, the court opted to cease meeting in person until it was safe to do so again.
Since COVID-19 is most dangerous to those aged 65 and older, six of the nine justices are considered high-risk for the disease.
Of particular concern is 87-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who also has a history of lung disease that increases her risk for a poor outcome should she contract the virus.
Fox News reports that “Despite a postponement for oral arguments that were scheduled for late March and early April, the court will continue to release opinions on cases that it has already heard, including on Monday.”
Last week, Supreme Court spokeswoman Patricia McCabe said last Thursday that “the Supreme Court building will be closed to the public … until further notice. The building will remain open for official business, and case filing deadlines are not extended.”
In a new statement, however, the court announced on Monday that “In keeping with public health precautions recommended in response to COVID-19, the Supreme Court is postponing the oral arguments currently scheduled for the March session. The court’s March session includes April 1.”
“The Court will examine the options for rescheduling those cases in due course in light of the developing circumstances,” McCabe added.
Coronavirus is reportedly most deadly to older adults and those with serious chronic medical conditions.
This places many of the Supreme Court justices at risk for contracting the virus given six of the nine justices are at least 65-years-old.
Liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 87-years-old would presumably be at high risk. Not just because of her age but also given the operation she underwent to address early-stage lung cancer in December.
The Supreme Court has already handed down several major rulings this month.
The Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration can enforce the “remain in Mexico” policy.
Before that, the High Court ruled 5-4 in favor of tossing a lawsuit filed against a Texas border agent for shooting and killing a Mexican teenager.
In the other immigration case, the Court ruled 5-4 in favor of allowing the Trump administration to enforce its “public charge” immigration rule, which allows them to deny green cards to immigrants who would be dependent on government welfare for extended periods.