WASHINGTON (AP) — A flurry of election-related cases are already working their way through courts, but Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer doesn’t seem overly concerned about election cases landing in his lap.
“We don’t know the cases will come to us. We’ve learned it’s best, and I’ve learned over time, deal with the case when it comes up, don’t deal with it on the basis of what’s said in a newspaper,” Breyer said during a conversation Thursday arranged by George Washington University and streamed on Facebook.
Breyer, a dissenter in the Bush v. Gore case that essentially settled the disputed 2000 presidential election in favor of Republican George W. Bush, spoke from a bedroom in his home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. And, yes, the bed was made. But when Breyer and his colleagues resume hearing arguments in October, the public won’t be able to see them.
The court announced Wednesday that it will start its new term next month the way it ended the last one, with arguments by telephone and live audio available to the public because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Breyer on Thursday explained the reason for doing audio only. Breyer said the court is concerned about security, particularly potential disruptions from the outside, including hackers.
“I think that’s what’s led us to be pretty cautious,” he said, adding that the justices have been conducting their private conferences by telephone, too.
Instead of the free-for-all style of courtroom arguments, when the justices heard arguments by phone they asked questions in order of seniority, with each justice getting two minutes each. How did Breyer think it went?
“I like it, but I’m not sure I’d like to do it all the time,” he said.
Breyer says there are advantages to holding arguments by phone.