U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUS will hear arguments by telephone conference in several cases because of COVID-19

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The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday that it will have oral arguments by telephone conference in May for several cases because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Among the cases slated for argument are disputes over access to President Donald Trump’s financial and tax records, contraceptive coverage rules, and “faithless electors,” report Law.com, Reuters, the Washington Post and Bloomberg.

At issue in the records case are subpoenas seeking information from Trump’s accounting firm, his banks and the Trump Organization. The records are being sought by New York prosecutors investigating hush money payments and two congressional committees investigating a wide range of issues.

The congressional committees are investigating hush money payments, Trump’s descriptions of his assets, banking compliance with laws, and foreign election influence. The committees also say they need the records as they consider changing the ethics laws requiring financial disclosure.

Two other cases slated for telephone arguments ask whether states can replace or fine members of the Electoral College—dubbed “faithless electors”—who refuse to support the winner of the state popular vote.

Two other consolidated cases concern Trump administration rules that expand the “conscience” exemption for employers required to provide contraceptive coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The court is scheduling May telephone arguments for 10 cases in all, some of which have been consolidated for argument. Those amount to half of the 20 cases initially slated for oral arguments in April and May before they were postponed beacuse of COVID-19 concerns.

The justices and lawyers will all participate remotely. “The court anticipates providing a live audio feed of these arguments to news media,” according to a press release.

The cases regarding Trump’s financial records are Trump v. Mazars USA, Trump v. Deutsche Bank and Trump v. Vance.

The faithless elector cases are Colorado Department of State v. Baca and Chiafalo v. Washington.

The Affordable Care Act cases are Trump v. Pennsylvania and Little Sisters of the Poor v. Pennsylvania.

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