January was a little crazy here in DC so maybe I’ll be forgiven for forgetting to post these sketches in a timely manner. Fewer cases than usual were on the calendar, and arguments continued to be heard remotely by telephone.
I’ve imagined cobwebs on the bench. Maybe sheets have been thrown over the Justices’ chairs to protect them from dust like in an old horror movie.
Darkness was everywhere, it smelled like a tomb
I was ready to leave, I was already walkin’
But the next time I looked, there was light in the
We look forward to that day, probably the first Monday in October, when we are back in the courtroom. Meanwhile, the 2020 term goes on with lawyers making their arguments by telephone from dining room tables and law offices.
With one third of the Supreme Court now comprised of Trump appointed justices there was fear that last Tuesday’s election might end up being decided by the justices. That now seems unlikely given the margins, much to the relief of the Court I imagine.
The Justices continue to hear arguments by telephone conference, though probably not on the receivers pictured above. Below are sketches done from photos arguing counsel were kind enough to send me.
No justices were actually sitting in the courtroom on the first Monday of the October 2020 term, nor where any lawyers or the public. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced all of us to adapt to new conditions of social distancing. For the Supreme Court that has meant hearing arguments by conference call, with the bonus that the audio is live-streamed to the public. For me, while it’s great to listen to the arguments from the comfort of my studio, there’s not much to draw. At least there wasn’t until arguing counsel started sending me photos of their kitchen-table set-ups ( not really, at least not yet. But I’m hoping for a kitchen setting ). I’m enjoying the change after forty years of lawyers in suits arguing from the lectern.
Demonstrators on both sides of the abortion issue gathered outside the Supreme Court for yesterday’s argument in June Medical Services. The Center for Reproductive Rights distributed the teal colored knit caps shown in the banner sketch above. Below is a bird’s-eye ( drone’s-eye? ) view of the courtroom with virtually every seat filled for the argument. Actually, more seats were added in the aisles of the public section, and I should have added them.
On Tuesday, in Seila Law LLC v. CFPB, the Court heard argument on the constitutionality of the Consumer Financial Protection Board and whether the director of the board can be removed by the president “at will” or only “for cause”.
Also on Tuesday, the Court heard Liu v. SEC, for which I stuck around for one sketch.
Cowpasture! What a great title. And an excuse to put the justices on the Appalachian Trail. United States Forest Service v. Cowpasture River Preservation Association, concerning a proposed natural gas pipeline running under the AT, is also of interest to my wife, a longtime member of one of the Appalachian Trail Conference associated clubs. She also happens to be involved in different gas pipeline lawsuit, this one in Baltimore’s Leakin Park. She was able to get a seat for the argument so I had the rare pleasure of driving into work with Bridget.
There were, of course, other arguments as well as opinions to sketch in this first week of the February sitting, and I sketched a few. But mostly I used my time in the courtroom preparing for next week’s blockbusters on abortion and the CFPB.