Court-watchers will not be able to see the justice in person sitting on the Supreme Court bench because of the coronavirus pandemic. But anyone in the country will be able to hear Barrett through the livestream of the Supreme Court’s remote oral arguments in two separate cases Monday.
Before the court Monday are two cases set to be argued at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. First, the court will hear U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service v. Sierra Club, Inc. — a Freedom of Information Act case — before hearing Salinas v. Railroad Retirement Board.
Amy Coney Barrett listens as President Donald Trump speaks before Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas administers the Constitutional Oath to Barrett on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020, after Barrett was confirmed to be a Supreme Court justice by the Senate earlier in the evening. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Because the remote oral arguments are done via traditional phone line instead of video conference, the arguments are much more structured than the typical free-for-all format in which justices interrupt the lawyers arguing before them at will. The lawyers will open their arguments with brief comments before justices each get five minutes to quiz the lawyers on their own, by descending order of seniority.
This means it will likely be a half-hour or more after 10 a.m. before Barrett first speaks. She will follow Justice Brett Kavanaugh, who is now the second-most junior justice.
There aren’t plans for Chief Justice John Roberts to give a formal statement on Barrett joining the court — the court said last week there are plans for a formal ceremony during a special sitting in the Supreme Court’s courtroom in the future. But it is possible that one or more of Barrett’s new colleagues on the famously collegial Supreme Court will acknowledge the fact she joins them for the first time for arguments on the Monday call.
The Supreme Court will also hear two criminal cases on Tuesday before it gets into hot-button issues Wednesday and next week.
On Wednesday, the court will hear Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which is a case about whether or not a city can prevent a religious group that does not place foster children with same-sex couples to participate in its foster program. On Nov. 9 the court will hear a case on immigration, and on Nov. 10 it will hear Texas v. California, the case about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that loomed large over Barrett’s confirmation process.
Monday will also mark another first for Barrett, as the court will release the orders list from its Friday conference, which was her first as a justice.
Conferences are where justices meet behind closed doors, primarily deciding which cases they will put on their docket. The orders list will be released online at 9:30 a.m. Monday.
On orders lists, justices also sometimes dissent from a decision not to hear a case, and it is possible that Barrett will write such a dissent or join one. Justices Thomas and Samuel Alito have written many such dissents in recent terms.
Fox News’ Bill Mears contributed to this report.