The Supreme Court kicked off its new term today with only eight justices. Chief Justice John Roberts opened hearings with a tribute to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg: “Justice Ginsburg's contributions as advocate, jurist and citizen are immeasurable. We at the court will remember her as a dear friend and a treasured colleague."
The justices are conducting hearings over the phone because of the pandemic. There are some big cases on the docket, including a challenge to Obamacare, and whether religious institituions can refuse to work with gay couples looking to foster a child.
Meanwhile, the pandemic is throwing the Republicans’ plan to rush the confirmation of a ninth justice into chaos. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says hearings for Trump’s nominee, Judge Amy Coney Barrett, are still on for next week. That’s despite the fact that four Republican Senators likely won’t be there. Two have COVID-19 and two others are quarantining.