March 20, 2020 / 6:45 PM / 18 days ago

Ginsburg, other justices 'healthy' as U.S. Supreme Court adjusts to coronavirus

WASHINGTON, March 20 (Reuters) - U.S. Supreme Court justices, including 87-year-old Ruth Bader Ginsburg, are all healthy, with some participating remotely in a private meeting on Friday as they weigh how to proceed during the coronavirus pandemic, a court spokeswoman said.

“Like all of us, the nine justices are following public health guidance,” court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said. As a result, the justices are “forgoing their traditional handshake” before meetings, she added.

The virus has proven to be particularly dangerous to the elderly and people with pre-existing medical conditions. Six of the nine justices are 65 or older, including three over 70: liberals Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer (81) and conservative Clarence Thomas (71).

“All of the justices are healthy,” Arberg said, adding that they all participated in the conference meeting to discuss which cases to hear.

Arberg declined to say whether Ginsburg was one of the justices who called in for the meeting. Ginsburg has experienced a series of recent health issues including treatment in the past two years for pancreatic and lung cancer.

The court is set to issue rulings on Monday online only, in a departure from the normal practice of having the justices sit in their courtroom when the opinions are announced. The court will also announce action on pending appeals on Monday.

The court on March 16 announced it would postpone indefinitely the next session of oral arguments that was scheduled to begin on Monday and run through April 1, including a high-profile dispute over whether President Donald Trump’s tax and financial records will be kept secret.

The court has been closed to the public since March 13 but remains open for “official business.”

The court has not yet announced how it intends to proceed with arguments scheduled in the rest of the cases due to be heard in the current court term, which traditionally would run through the end of June.

Reporting by Lawrence Hurley; Additional reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham

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