AP Courtside: Supreme Court finishes Day 2 of phone argument

National

In this May 3, 2020 photo, the setting sun shines on the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington. The Supreme Court is getting ready for its second day of telephone arguments. Its first day of arguments over the phone with audio available live for the first time went off largely without a hitch Monday. There were some minor glitches. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is hearing a second day of arguments by telephone with the audio available live to audiences around the world. You can listen live here starting at 10 a.m. Eastern.

Monday was the justices’ first foray into the setup they settled on because of the coronavirus pandemic. After hearing Tuesday’s case, the justices will have four scheduled days of argument and eight cases remaining.

The highest-profile cases are scheduled for next week. That’s when the justices will hear cases including President Donald Trump’s bid to keep certain financial records private.

Here are some observations, trivia and analysis from our Supreme Court reporters (all times local):

11:55 a.m.

That’s a wrap. Day Two of live arguments by telephone at the Supreme Court has finished.

The justices on Tuesday heard a free speech case that has to do with whether certain organizations combating HIV/AIDS abroad have to denounce prostitution to get U.S. taxpayer money. The arguments were by phone because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The phone arguments proceeded with hardly any delays or issues. Justice Sonia Sotomayor forgot to unmute briefly for the second day in a row. She then told Chief Justice John Roberts, “I’m sorry, chief, did it again.”

Justice Clarence Thomas asked questions again Tuesday. Before Monday, it had been more than a year since he asked one.

The arguments ran about 10 minutes late. But there was a voice missing. Justice Elena Kagan recused herself from the case, presumably because she worked on an earlier version of the case when she served in the Justice Department before joining the court.

The justices will be back on the telephone Wednesday at 10 a.m. for two arguments. The first involves a requirement from the Affordable Care Act that employers cover contraceptives for women. The second is a free speech case.

___

10:35 a.m.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor may need a refresher course on how to use her telephone.

For the second day, the justice had difficulty joining in the questioning during the Supreme Court’s telephone arguments.

On Monday, when it was Sotomayor’s turn to ask a question, Chief Justice John Roberts called her name and then there was a long pause. Roberts called her name a second time before her voice was heard. She said, “I’m sorry, chief,” before beginning her questioning.

On Tuesday, Roberts had to again call her name twice before she came on the line. She said, “I’m sorry, chief, did it again.”

___

10:15 a.m.

Justice Clarence Thomas has done it again. The Supreme Court’s longest-serving justice has asked questions on the second day the high court is hearing arguments by telephone with the audio broadcast live.

Asking a question wouldn’t be a big deal for any of the other justices. Most ask a few questions in each argument. But that’s not Thomas’ style. Before Monday it had been more than a year since Thomas asked a question.

In Tuesday’s case about U.S. aid to foreign groups working to combat HIV/AIDS, Thomas started by asking government attorney Christopher Michel: “The respondent seems to argue that your guidelines … actually support their argument. What do you think of that?”

Thomas has been on the court since 1991. He has said he thinks his colleagues pepper lawyers with too many questions. He once went 10 years between asking questions at argument.

___

10 a.m.

The Supreme Court has started Day 2 of the arguments it’s hearing by telephone because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The court again urged lawyers to use a landline, not a cellphone. Arguments Tuesday are scheduled to last an hour, as usual. The arguments ran about 15 minutes long Monday, when the court heard arguments by phone and allowed the world to listen in live — both for the first time.

If you followed along Monday you know the drill: The justices will ask questions in order of seniority, after Chief Justice John Roberts goes first.

Before the justices Tuesday is a free speech case that has to do with whether certain organizations combating HIV/AIDS abroad have to denounce prostitution to get U.S. taxpayer money.

Monday’s case was about whether the travel website Booking.com can trademark its name.

___

8:15 a.m.

The Supreme Court is getting ready to hear arguments by telephone in a case about a worldwide virus, but it’s not what you think.

The reason the justices aren’t in their marble-columned courtroom, of course, is the coronavirus pandemic. But on the justices’ minds Tuesday is the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

The case before them is a free speech case that has to do with whether certain organizations combating HIV/AIDS abroad have to denounce prostitution to get U.S. taxpayer money.

The justices have dealt with this case before. In 2013 they ruled that the government cannot force U.S.-based private health organizations to denounce prostitution as a condition of getting money. The question this time around is whether foreign organizations that work with the U.S.-based ones can be required to do so to get funds.

The court held its first day of arguments over the telephone on Monday, with audio available live for the first time. That case was about whether the travel website Booking.com can trademark its name.

___

8 a.m.

The Supreme Court’s first day of arguments over the telephone with audio available live for the first time went off largely without a hitch.

On Tuesday, the justices will try to do it again with a second case.

Monday’s glitches were minor. Justice Stephen Breyer’s line was briefly garbled. And when it was Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s turn to ask a question, there was a long pause and Chief Justice John Roberts said her name a second time before her voice was heard. She said, “I’m sorry, chief,” before beginning her questioning.

One mild surprise came early in the arguments when Roberts passed the questioning to Justice Clarence Thomas, who once went 10 years between questions and has said he thinks his colleagues pepper lawyers with too many. But in this format, Thomas spoke up, asking questions of both lawyers in the case.

Monday’s case was about whether the travel website Booking.com can trademark its name. Tuesday’s case is about free speech and whether certain organizations combating HIV/AIDS abroad have to denounce prostitution to get U.S. taxpayer money.

___

Follow AP’s Supreme Court Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/AP_Courtside. And Supreme Court reporters Mark Sherman at https://twitter.com/shermancourt and Jessica Gresko at https://twitter.com/jessicagresko.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Follow Us

SISU

Trending Stories