WASHINGTON (AP) – The Supreme Court is beginning its new term, welcoming the public back to the courtroom.
Yesterday’s session also is the first time new Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson, the court’s first Black female justice, will participate in arguments.
And the public is back for the first time since the court closed in March 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.
Hanging over the justices is some unfinished business from last term: the leak of a draft of the court decision seven weeks before it was formally announced. Chief Justice John Roberts ordered an investigation, but the court has yet to provide an update.
Jackson, for her part, has been waiting for months to fully begin her new role since being confirmed in April. She was sworn in when Justice Stephen Breyer retired in June, at the end of a term where the court dominated 6-3 by conservatives also expanded gun rights, reined in the government’s ability to fight climate change and blocked a Biden administration effort to get workers at large companies vaccinated against COVID-19.
Breyer, a liberal, was on the losing side of those cases, and Jackson is also expected to be in dissent in many of the court’s most prominent cases.
Since she was sworn in, however, the court has largely been on a summer break. The justices met privately last week to consider a long list of appeals that piled up over the summer.
On Friday, the justices took the Bench for a brief ceremony in which Roberts wished Jackson a “long and happy career in our common calling,” the traditional welcome for a new justice.