COLUMBUS, Ohio—The seven justices on the Ohio Supreme Court are still joining in opinions during the coronavirus crisis – but now, they’ll do so apart from each other.
The Supreme Court announced Tuesday it will begin hearing oral arguments remotely because of the viral threat, starting on April 7 and 8. That means the court’s ornate courtroom will not be used at all: attorneys will argue their cases remotely via videoconferencing to the justices, who will hear the arguments from their respective chambers, according to a release.
“We are dedicated to continue the Court’s business with minimal disruption,” Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor said in a statement. “We are using the latest technology that makes remote oral arguments possible. It is important for the Supreme Court to do what every court in Ohio is asked to do: conduct business within the Director of (the Ohio Department of) Health’s directives and do so consistent with their essential functions.”
On April 7, the court will hear four cases involving:
Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton have, among other major orders, limited public gatherings to 10 people in order to minimize outbreaks. However, the Ohio Supreme Court, as a separate branch of government, is exempted from that rule.
On Friday, O’Connor froze time limitations and deadlines regarding filings, appeals and other legal matters retroactive to March 9. The suspension (or “tolling”) of such legal actions will continue through July 30, unless DeWine lifts his state of emergency before then.