The Supreme Court announced Monday that it is suspending oral arguments scheduled for March and early April due to health concerns stemming from the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.
“In keeping with public health precautions recommended in response to COVID-19, the Supreme Court is postponing the oral arguments currently scheduled for the March session,” the court said in a statement. “The court’s March session includes April 1.
“The Court will examine the options for rescheduling those cases in due course in light of the developing circumstances,” the statement added.
One of the postponed arguments involves a case regarding whether House Democrats can obtain President Donald Trump’s financial records.
Six of the nine justices are 65 and older, at higher risk of getting very sick from the illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 87, and Stephen Breyer, 81, are the oldest members of the court.
There is no new date set for the postponed arguments. the building has been closed to the public since last week.
The only other time the 85-year-old court building was closed for arguments was in October 2001, when anthrax was detected in the court mailroom. That led the justices to hold arguments in the federal courthouse about a half mile from the Supreme Court,
Within a week and after a thorough cleaning, the court reopened.
In 1918, when the court still met inside the Capitol, arguments were postponed for a month because of the flu pandemic. In the nation’s early years, in August 1793 and August 1798, adjustments were made because of yellow fever outbreaks, the court said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.