You Can Listen to SCOTUS History on Monday Morning

Supreme Court hearing cases by audio, and public can listen for first time
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 4, 2020 6:33 AM CDT
You Can Listen to SCOTUS History on Monday Morning
Clouds roll over the Supreme Court at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington, Sunday, May 3, 2020.   (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Anyone stuck at home and bored Monday morning can take part in a little history. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments by teleconference because of COVID-19, and the public can listen in to live arguments for the first time, reports CNN. Monday's case begins at 10am Eastern, and the public can listen via a CSPAN livestream. (Other outlets have livestreams, too.) The day's case isn't one of the year's high-profile ones—it involves a fight by to trademark its name. (Full details at SCOTUSBlog.) NPR notes that some attorneys will be arguing from home, though government attorneys will be at the office of the Solicitor General—and the latter camp be wearing formal attire, even though no video is involved.

Generally, each side will get 30 minutes to present its case, as usual. But the unprecedented format is forcing one notable change in format: Justices will ask questions based on seniority, after Chief Justice John Roberts goes first. Typically, there's no such order. And the attorneys will have to cope with what could be a big disadvantage: They won't be able to see justices react to what they're saying. "I just feel that not being able to see their faces and body language is going to be a real challenge," Stanford Law professor Jeff Fisher tells NPR. "It's just a cost for how effective and useful the arguments are going to be." Fisher himself will be arguing a case under the temporary format next week. (More US Supreme Court stories.)

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