Supreme Court to hear cases in May via telephone

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(CNN) — The Supreme Court will hear major cases on President Donald Trump’s financial documents, religious freedom and the Electoral College via telephone next month in an unprecedented move.

The announcement comes as the country is grappling with the coronavirus pandemic and it means that the justices will move into new territory, asking their questions over a phone line in lieu of the usual back and forth dialogue in their august courtroom.

“In keeping with public health guidance in response to Covid-19, the justices and counsel will all participate remotely,” the court said in a statement.

No additional details about how the cases will be heard, or whether there will be a video component, were announced, but the court said it “anticipates providing a live audio feed” to the news media, which would be a first in the court’s history.

Oral arguments will be heard on May 4-6 and May 11-13, but the specific dates for each case are yet to be determined, the court said.

Roughly half of oral arguments the court was scheduled to hear in March and April will now be postponed until the fall term, lawyers for those cases were told Monday.

Those issues involve a copyright case between Google and Oracle and a case concerning the statute of limitations for rape in the military.

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