Nobody is debating the importance of the issue the Supreme Court is debating today – no less than the future of the democratic process, some argue.
But as we enter hour three, if you think that oral arguments are taking a really, really, really long time these days, you’re right.
Blame the Covid-19 pandemic. Before 2020, oral arguments were generally fairly tight one-hour sessions (longer if a case was combined or the court otherwise planned). Speed and brevity were valued, CNN Senior Supreme Court Analyst Joan Biskupic has said.
During the pandemic, the justices held oral arguments over the phone, and the method was changed so each of the nine justices were allowed to ask question in order. Many of them went over time, as did the lawyers at the other end of the phone line. But the format had the advantage of ensuring that no justice was elbowed out of the Q-and-A.
But since returning to the courtroom, the old order has not been restored. Instead, while the justices have returned to their old free-for-all format, they’ve added a second round or gone into a third.
And since none of the justices are showing any signs of cutting back in sharing their questions and views, it seems like oral arguments that go on for 90 minutes or two hours — or more — are the new normal.
Read more here.