The Supreme Court announced this week that it will hear live oral arguments beginning in October 2021. Courtroom access will be limited to the Justices, essential court personnel, counsel, and Supreme Court journalists. The Court will remain closed to the public for the October, November, and December arguments. 

Supreme Court watchers likely can expect a return to the rough-and-tumble nature of Supreme Court arguments whereby Justices ask questions of the litigants as they see fit, not infrequently interrupting one another and counsel! This will be a change from the orderly and rather staid covid protocols whereby the justices quizzed litigants telephonically for three minutes a pop in order of seniority. 

Of particular interest to court watchers, the Court has promised to continue livestream oral arguments as they take place. It is thus likely that the Court will livestream arguments even after its doors open once again to the public. And one can hope that Justice Thomas continues to ask questions in every iteration of that livestream. (Justice Thomas almost always refrains from asking questions during live oral argument because he likes to hear from counsel, but has consistently participated during telephonic argument.)