WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court will resume hearing oral arguments in its ornate courtroom when the new term begins in October, the court said Wednesday.
The justices have not met together in the courtroom since the pandemic shut down the court building in March 2020. The justices heard oral argument by telephone conference call for all of the past term and the last part of the one before that.
Starting the first Monday in October, the justices will return to the court bench. Admission to the courtroom will be limited, however, to essential staff, the lawyers arguing cases and journalists who cover the court full time.
"Out of concern for the health and safety of the public and Supreme Court employees, the courtroom sessions will not be open to the public," the court said in a news release, adding that it "will continue to closely monitor public health guidance in determining plans."
That means other lawyers who would normally crowd into the section of the courtroom reserved for the Supreme Court bar will not be allowed to enter either.
The resumption of oral arguments will be different in one other respect: The court will provide a live audio feed of the arguments. Live audio was made available when the justices began hearing arguments by conference call. But before the pandemic hit, the audio of oral argument sessions in the courtroom was not released until several days later.
The court building remains open only for official business and will be closed to the visitors until further notice, Wednesday's announcement said.