Supreme Court goes remote for oral arguments for rest of the year

The US Supreme Court will hear cases via telephone for the rest of the year, it announced Friday, setting up a remote showdown over Obamacare during the coronavirus pandemic.

The court, which began its new term on Monday, will hear oral arguments in the closely watched case on Nov. 10, one week after the presidential election.

It is the third challenge to Obamacare, with the Trump administration asking the court to strike down the program that provides health care for some 23 million Americans. It’s been twice upheld before with votes of 5-4 and 6-3.

The Justice Department is arguing that the Affordable Care Act has already been effectively rendered unconstitutional after Congress in 2017 passed tax legislation that removed the law’s fines for not having health insurance.

On its website, the court said that all oral arguments for the November and December sessions will be held via telephone conference and a live audio feed will be provided to members of the media and public.

The highest court in the land opened its term on the traditional first Monday of October with eight justices — instead of the usual nine — following the Sept. 18 death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

With the loss of liberal-leaning Ginsburg, the court could tip more conservative direction if President Trump’s nominee, Amy Coney Barrett, is confirmed.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said confirmation hearings for Barrett, 48, will begin on Monday, a timeline that would allow a full Senate vote before the Nov. 3 election.

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