High court postpones April arguments because of coronavirus

In this March 16, 2020 photo, a tree blooms outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, March 16, 2020. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

The Supreme Court on Friday announced it is postponing arguments scheduled for April because of the coronavirus, but the court didn’t rule out hearing some arguments within months.

The announcement means a total of 20 arguments scheduled for March and April, including fights over subpoenas for President Donald Trump’s financial records, have now been postponed. The court said in a statement that it would consider rescheduling some cases before the end of the term “if circumstances permit in light of public health and safety guidance at that time.”

The court typically stops hearing arguments in April but continues to issue opinions in May and June before taking a break for the summer. The court resumes hearing arguments in October. The court did not say when a decision would be made about which cases might be rescheduled or exactly when they might be heard.

“The Court will consider a range of scheduling options and other alternatives if arguments cannot be held in the Courtroom before the end of the Term,” the statement said.

That seemed to leave open the possibility the court could hear arguments via audio or video link, the first time that would happen.

The court’s announcement follows Trump’s decision to extend social distancing guidelines through the end of April, which included the two-week span in which the court was to hear arguments.

The decision to postpone additional arguments does not affect high-profile cases about LGBT rights, protections for young immigrants, abortion and guns that were argued during the fall and winter, and await resolution.

The high court previously announced it would postpone 11 arguments that would have been heard over the past two weeks.