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Chief Justice Says In-Person Oral Arguments Will Resume in October

September 11, 2022 by Dan McCue
Chief Justice Says In-Person Oral Arguments Will Resume in October

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Chief Justice John Roberts revealed Friday night that the public will be allowed back into the Supreme Court building to hear oral arguments when the justices return to work in October.

Roberts made the announcement, which has yet to be posted on the Supreme Court website, before an annual gathering of lawyers and judges at The Broadmoor resort in Colorado Springs.

During the “fireside chat,” portion of the event, the Bench & Bar Conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, Roberts said he also looked forward to the addition of the newest member of the court, Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, saying she is “going to be a wonderful justice.”

“It almost causes us to up our game a little bit” to have a new member, Roberts said in remarks first reported by the Colorado Spring Gazette. 

“Now there’s a new person there and I think each of us will be a little more careful in explaining why we think what we think. It will be new to her,” he said.

But Roberts’ smile evaporated when he was asked whether the controversial decisions of the past term, including the overturning of Roe v. Wade had eroded the legitimacy of the high court.

“The court has always decided controversial cases and decisions have always been subject to intense criticism, and that is entirely appropriate,” the chief justice said. “But I don’t understand the connection between the opinions people disagree with and the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.”

Roberts was questioned during the chat by Chief U.S. Circuit Judge Timothy Tymkovich of Colorado and his incoming successor, U.S. Circuit Judge Jerome Holmes of Oklahoma.

Roberts did not discuss the specifics of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization or any controversial decision the court made last term; nor did he provide any update on the investigation of the leak of the Dobbs ruling two months before it was announced. 

However, he did say he is looking forward to getting back to work, and specifically to returning to a Supreme Court building without security barriers.

“It was gut wrenching every morning to drive into a Supreme Court with barricades around it,” Roberts said.

Dan can be reached at dan@thewellnews.com and at https://twitter.com/DanMcCue.

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