The Supreme Court for the first time will hold oral arguments via teleconference next month, the court announced Monday, including President Trump’s legal battle to keep congressional committees and a New York prosecutor from obtaining his financial records.

Audio of the teleconference hearings will apparently be available in real time, a stunning change for the way the court normally conducts business. Cameras are not allowed in the courtroom, and the court does not allow live audio of oral arguments.

The court’s decision to schedule some arguments for May was announced in a news release.

“In keeping with public health guidance in response to COVID-19, the justices and counsel will all participate remotely,” the statement said. “The court anticipates providing a live audio feed of these arguments to news media. Details will be shared as they become available.”

It is unclear if the late deliberations – usually, the court ends oral arguments in April – will affect the court’s term, which normally concludes by the end of June.

The justices last met in public on March 9. They have since issued opinions on the court’s website. They have met in private conference via teleconference, with only Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. in the room where justices gather to discuss the court’s business.

The court postponed oral argument sessions scheduled for March and April. About half of the scheduled cases will be heard during sessions on May 4, 5, 6, 11, 12 and 13.

The court did not announce what would happen in remaining cases. But lawyers in some of the cases said they had been told that the court would hold oral arguments early in the term that begins in October, rather than decide the cases without oral arguments.

Besides Trump’s battle to withhold his financial records from congressional committees and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., the court will hear another time-sensitive case. It involves whether presidential electors can be required to honor their state’s instructions to vote for the candidate who wins the state’s popular vote. In many presidential elections, a handful of members of the electoral college – “faithless electors,” is what detractors call them – have voted for other candidates.


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