Bloomberg Law
Free Newsletter Sign Up
Bloomberg Law
Advanced Search Go
Free Newsletter Sign Up

High Court Alters Argument Protocol, Says Justices to Take Turns

April 28, 2020, 5:17 PM

U.S. Supreme Court justices will have to wait their turn if they want to ask questions during the court’s first-ever telephone arguments starting next week.

The court said Tuesday it will deviate from its usual questioning practice, which at times resembles a free-for-all, and go in order of seniority when the court convenes Monday for the first of 10 remote arguments.

That means Chief Justice John Roberts will get the first crack at asking a question, followed by Justice Clarence Thomas, who presumably will pass, given his penchant for not speaking during arguments. The questioning will continue down the list of seniority.

The court said the session will begin with the traditional “Oyez! Oyez!” call from the court’s marshal, Pamela Talkin.

The court will hear a trademark case Monday. The highlight of the two-week session is likely to be May 12, when the justices will consider a set of cases involving subpoenas for President Donald Trump’s financial records. In another first, the court will allow live audio broadcasts of the arguments.

To contact the reporter on this story:
Greg Stohr in Washington at

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Joe Sobczyk at

Laurie Asséo, Erik Wasson

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.