Coronavirus: Supreme Court postponing oral arguments in all cases, including Trump's tax returns

Nation's highest court to 'examine the options for rescheduling' blockbuster cases amid pandemic

Chris Riotta
New York
Monday 16 March 2020 19:52
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The US Supreme Court has suspended all upcoming oral arguments for a slate of historic cases as the nation responds to the coronavirus pandemic, reportedly delaying the in-person proceedings “in light of the developing circumstances”.

In a statement released on Monday, the nation’s highest court said it would delay the remainder of oral arguments scheduled throughout March in order to comply with recommendations from US health officials surrounding the deadly illness.

The statement said the decision was made “in keeping with public health precautions” and that the court would “examine the options for rescheduling” impacted oral arguments in the future “in light of the developing circumstances”.

The Supreme Court justices were set to take on multiple high-profile cases, from reviewing numerous rape convictions within the Air Force that were overturned last year, to Donald Trump’s long-fought battle to conceal his tax records from lawmakers and the public.

The president’s tax records case was scheduled to begin on the last day of the month. It remained unclear as of Monday afternoon when Supreme Court justices would commence oral arguments in the case, though some analysts suggested they may issue opinions on the March cases during the temporary suspension.

The Supreme Court has not yet issued guidelines on releasing opinions and rescheduling the postponed oral arguments.

The US surgeon general said the coronavirus virus was “at a critical inflection point” in the country during an interview with Fox News on Monday, comparing the current environment surrounding the pandemic to that in Italy nearly two weeks ago.

“When you look at the projections, there’s every change that we could be Italy,” Surgeon General Dr Jerome Adams told the network, adding that the US still has an opportunity to slow the spread of the virus before it burdens the nation’s health care system.

At least 3,500 Americans have contracted the illness, according to the latest figures released by the US Centre for Disease Control, as the death toll rose to at least 69 on Monday. Experts said the true number of cases was likely much higher, however, citing complications in getting patients tested across the country in recent weeks.

The virus was known by researchers to pose a greater threat to older patients and people with underlying conditions. Symptoms are often similar to those of a mild flu case, including respiratory issues, a fever and in severe cases, pneumonia.

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