Just over one year after the Supreme Court closed its doors to the public because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the justices returned on Friday to something resembling a normal conference. The court’s public information office told reporters that for the first time since last spring, most of the justices met in person at the court for their regular private meeting to discuss petitions seeking the court’s review. However, some justices continued to participate remotely.
The shift from fully remote meetings, the public information office explained, is consistent with new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. Those guidelines, released earlier this month, indicate that people who have been fully vaccinated can meet indoors with others who have been fully vaccinated without wearing a mask. All of the justices, the court recently disclosed, have now been fully vaccinated.
Although the justices can now meet together in person, the court also announced on Friday that the justices would once again hear oral arguments in their April argument session, which begins on April 19, by telephone. That decision, the court explained, is in “keeping with public health guidance in response to COVID-19.” Live audio of the arguments will be available to the public.
This post is also published on SCOTUSblog.