The United States Supreme Court will conduct oral arguments next week with one Justice missing and an empty courtroom.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died on September 18, 2020, and her passing will leave the Court with 8 Justices when their term begins on October 5. The Court’s public statement announcing her death was posted on their website. https://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/press/pressreleases/pr_09-18-20
Traditionally, the courtroom and the Justice’s chair are draped in black following the death of a sitting justice. This honor and tradition is being observed now, even though the United States Supreme Court building is closed to the public. https://www.supremecourt.gov/publicinfo/press/pressreleases/pr_09-20-20
Out of concern for the health and safety of the public and Supreme Court employees, the Supreme Court building is closed to the public until further notice. The building remains open for official business. Oral arguments for October will be conducted via telephone.
The Court holds oral argument in about 70-80 cases each year. The arguments are an opportunity for the Justices to ask questions directly of the attorneys representing the parties to the case, and for the attorneys to highlight arguments that they view as particularly important.
Oral arguments are generally scheduled on specified Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings beginning on the first Monday in October, and continuing through the end of April. Typically, the Court holds two arguments each day beginning at 10:00 a.m., each lasting one hour. The Court’s oral argument schedule is available through this link. https://www.supremecourt.gov/oral_arguments/2020TermCourtCalendar.pdf
The days on which arguments are held are identified on the Court’s yearly calendar. The specific cases to be argued each day, and the attorneys scheduled to argue them, are identified on hearing lists for each session and on the day call for each argument session. The United States Supreme Court building usually is open to the public and, when open, courtroom seating is available on a first-come, first seated basis.
On the afternoon of each argument, the Court posts transcripts of that day’s arguments. On the Friday of each argument week, the Court also makes the audio of the week’s arguments available.