The U.S. Supreme Court will be hearing arguments by telephone conference call on ten cases during the first two weeks of May. For the first time ever, the public can listen in to live oral arguments.

The Court has never before permitted live audio. While the court has occasionally released same-day audio, it typically releases transcripts shortly after a hearing but audio at the end of the week.

An April 30 press release from the Court said:

The Court will hear oral arguments by telephone conference on May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13 in a limited number of previously postponed cases. In keeping with public health guidance in response to COVID-19, the Justices and counsel will all participate remotely. The oral arguments are scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. On days when more than one case will be heard, the second case will begin promptly following the first case.

The Court will provide a live audio feed of the arguments to FOX News (the network pool chair), the Associated Press, and C-SPAN, and they will in turn provide a simultaneous feed for the oral arguments to livestream on various media platforms.

At 10:00 AM on the days it hears arguments, Chief Justice John Roberts will call the first case, and each side will have an uninterrupted two minutes to present arguments. Then the Chief Justice will have the first opportunity to ask questions, followed by the Associate Justices, in order of seniority: Clarence Thomas, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Samuel Alito, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

Two cases on the Court’s schedule have to do with whether government can interfere in the employment decisions of religious schools. The cases are Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru and St. James Catholic School v. Biel, heard on Monday, May 11.

The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the public interest law firm representing the two schools, says it is “defending two California Catholic elementary schools’ right to choose ministers that embody their faith without government interference.” 

Another case of interest to Christians is that of Little Sisters of the Poor v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, where a group of nuns is asking the Supreme Court to protect their religious freedom. The Becket Fund is also representing this group. This hearing will be Wednesday, May 6.

Other cases involve President Donald Trump’s financial records, Electoral College delegates, whether political groups can use robocalls to raise funds and whether members of Native American Tribes can be prosecuted by states when the crimes are committed on tribal lands.


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