Supreme Court delays oral arguments, Trump tax case was set for this month

The justices will not be in the courtroom when they were to resume hearing cases next week and no date has been set for their return..
U.S. Supreme Court Cancels All Oral Arguments Through Early April Due To COVID-19
A police officer walks up the steps at the U.S. Supreme Court on March 16, 2020.Drew Angerer / Getty Images

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By Pete Williams

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court said Monday that it will delay oral arguments in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

That means the justices will not be in the courtroom when they were to resume hearing oral arguments next week. Among the high-profile cases on the schedule was the March 31 argument on President Donald Trump's efforts to shield his tax returns and other financial documents from Congress and a New York prosecutor.

The justices will conduct their regular closed-door conference Friday, but the court said some of them may participate by phone.

The court's announcement Monday did not say when courtroom arguments would resume.

The court had said last week that it would stop admitting the public but would nonetheless carry on business as usual.

An oral argument session also is scheduled to begin April 20 that includes one of the biggest cases of the term — a "faithless elector" challenge to state laws requiring presidential electors to cast their ballots for the candidates who won the popular vote in the state.

The Supreme Court has not disrupted its own operations since the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, when it was located in the basement of the Capitol building. The court resumed operations a month later. It moved to its own building in 1935.

During the anthrax crisis of 2001, the court temporarily moved oral arguments a few blocks away to a ceremonial courtroom in the U.S. courthouse.