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Supreme Court expected to stay open during government shutdown

As parts of the federal government shut down this weekend, the Supreme Court’s “opinion line” promises that on Monday the court will release orders and “there is a possibility of opinions.” Past recent shutdowns did not interfere with the court’s work, nor is the present situation expected to curtail it.

As explained in a press release from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts, the federal judiciary will maintain its operations through February 9 “by using court fee balances and other funds not dependent on a new appropriation.” Even after February 9, the Anti-Deficiency Act “allows work to continue during a lapse in appropriations if it is necessary to support the exercise of Article III judicial powers.”

And except for Monday, the Supreme Court justices do not even have official business scheduled until their February 16 conference. The next oral arguments are on February 20.

During the 2013 government shutdown from October 1 to 17, the Supreme Court heard oral argument in 11 cases, its entire October sitting. As reported by Lyle Denniston for this blog (on September 28, October 3 and October 10), the court announced weekly on its website that it “will continue to conduct its normal operations.” The court’s website has no such announcements posted at the moment.

Technically the Supreme Court did close temporarily on October 3, 2013 — not on account of the shutdown, but because of a shooting incident on nearby streets that left one of its police cars damaged. The building reopened to tourists before the end of that afternoon.

In the government shutdowns during October Term 1995, the Supreme Court “conducted business as usual” as well, according to the court’s public information officer, Kathleen Arberg, as reported by Lyle Denniston for this blog.

Recommended Citation: Andrew Hamm, Supreme Court expected to stay open during government shutdown, SCOTUSblog (Jan. 21, 2018, 12:23 PM),