Court will resume opinion announcements from the bench, but won’t provide live audio


artist's rendition of nine justices in robes sitting behind judicial bench, looking out over an empty lectern. sonia sotomayor wears a mask. large curtains and an american flag hang in the background.

The Supreme Court will resume its pre-pandemic practice of announcing opinions from the bench, the court’s Public Information Office said on Monday afternoon. But although the justices now provide live audio of oral arguments, the opinion announcements will not be livestreamed. Instead, consistent with the court’s pre-pandemic practice, the audio of opinion announcements will not be available until the beginning of the following term.

The resumption of in-person opinion announcements marks another step in the court’s slow return to business as usual since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. The court closed to the public on March 12, 2020; later that month, the justices began to release opinions online, without taking the bench. And although they returned to the courtroom, with access limited to a small group of reporters and law clerks, in October 2021, they continued to release opinions electronically throughout the 2021-22 term.

Since the start of the 2022-23 term in October, members of the public have been permitted to attend oral arguments. The court continued its pandemic practice of providing live audio of oral arguments – a departure from its prior practice of releasing argument audio only at the end of the week. Audio of opinion announcements, however, will only be available at the beginning of the following term, when the court releases it to the National Archives.

The Supreme Court has not yet released any opinions in the cases argued in the 2022-23 term. The court is not scheduled to take the bench again until January 2023.

This article was originally published at Howe on the Court.

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