After a rushed and contentious partisan confirmation Justice Amy Coney Barrett will join the chief and associate justices to hear oral arguments tomorrow. And with the presidential election upon us there is a good chance we will soon have a sense of the new Court.
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.
After a week of memorials the beloved Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg will join her late husband Marty at Arlington National Cemetery in a private ceremony.
I never got to meet the Notorious RBG. There were plans to visit her chambers and do watercolors of the jabots, but time ran out. My one off-the-bench memory of her is when she stopped by the press room for a chat during which she observed that DC drivers are the worst.
Posted here are some of the better sketches I’ve done of Justice Ginsburg ( there are plenty of lousy ones! ), along with a few SCOTUSblog banners done during the week of remembrance.
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.