Judiciary

As Hurricane Sandy Closes Many East Coast Courts, Supreme Court Stays Open on Monday


Updated: The U.S. Supreme Court isn’t going to let Hurricane Sandy put a damper on its proceedings, at least not on Monday.

Even as courts and governments across the Eastern United States are shutting down, the top court plans to stick to its oral argument schedule, Supreme Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg announced late Sunday. Reuters and SCOTUSblog have stories. Arberg told Reuters that court officials were monitoring the hurricane and could still decide to close on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Weather conditions apparently forced a change of plans for Tuesday, however. On Monday morning, the court announced that oral arguments scheduled for Tuesday will be pushed back until Thursday, SCOTUSblog reports.

Three federal appeals courts had announced closings as early as Friday—the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the New York-based 2nd Circuit and the Philadelphia-based 3rd Circuit—according to a list compiled by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. State and federal courts in Washington, D.C., and New York City will mostly be closed, according to the Washington Post and the New York Times. Federal courts in Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Virginia had also announced closings by Friday.

The Supreme Court has a tradition of staying open in inclement weather, the Reuters story says. In 1986, a snowstorm forced the closing of the federal government, but then Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist kept the court open. The court dispatched four-wheel drive vehicles to tote some of the justices to court. The only justice who didn’t make it, John Paul Stevens, was stranded in Florida.

Updated at 11:10 a.m. to add court’s decision to close on Tuesday.

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