AP Courtside: Higher stakes in Supreme Court phone arguments

8 months 3 weeks 2 days ago Wednesday, May 06 2020 May 6, 2020 May 06, 2020 6:05 AM May 06, 2020 in News - AP Texas Headlines

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court is back for Day Three of arguments by telephone with the audio available live to audiences around the world. You can listen live here starting at 10 a.m. Eastern.

The stakes are higher on Wednesday. There are two arguments scheduled, and there's a more high-profile case.

This is the last day for arguments this week. The justices have three more days and six cases remaining next week.

Here are some observations, trivia and analysis from our Supreme Court reporters (all times local):

8:15 a.m.

The stakes are higher in the phone arguments the Supreme Court is set to hear Wednesday.

The high court will hear two arguments in one day over the phone because of the coronavirus pandemic, with audio provided live. The session is expected to last approximately two hours.

The higher-profile case is about a dispute over Trump administration rules that would allow more employers who cite a religious or moral objection to opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women. It stems from former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The second argument is a free speech case involving a 1991 law aimed at protecting consumers from unwanted telemarketing calls.

On Monday the court heard a case about Booking.com’s ability to trademark its name. On Tuesday the case was about federal money to fight AIDS around the world.

8 a.m.

The Supreme Court's foray into modern technology has gone smoothly. On Monday and Tuesday there were few glitches as the justices heard arguments over the telephone with audio available live for the first time in the court's history because of the coronavirus pandemic.

But the stakes are higher Wednesday. There are two arguments in one day, and they're more high profile. One case involves the Affordable Care Act, often called “Obamacare.” The other relates to unwanted telemarketing calls.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has an infection caused by a gallstone and plans to participate from a Maryland hospital.

The court heard one case per day on Monday and on Tuesday. Among the biggest surprises during arguments came from Justice Clarence Thomas, who once went 10 years between questions. In this format, Thomas has been speaking up, asking questions both days.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor forgot to unmute herself both days, but it was only for a moment. On Tuesday, she told Chief Justice John Roberts, “I’m sorry, chief. Did it again.”

Follow AP’s Supreme Court Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/AP_Courtside. And Supreme Court reporters Mark Sherman at https://twitter.com/shermancourt and Jessica Gresko at https://twitter.com/jessicagresko.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

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