WASHINGTON – When President Joe Biden takes the rostrum Wednesday to ship his first tackle to a joint session of Congress, he’ll have a dwell viewers that appears considerably totally different than his predecessors confronted , together with a a lot smaller contingent of the Supreme Court docket.
A spokeswoman for the nation’s highest courtroom confirmed Monday that solely Chief Justice John Roberts will attend the tackle. Roberts, spokeswoman Kathleen Arberg mentioned, was the one one of many 9 justices invited as a result of COVID-19 social distancing protocols.
That can mark a departure from previous presidential addresses when many of the justices arrived within the Home chamber clad of their black robes to listen to the president converse. This 12 months, far fewer lawmakers may also attend the tackle due to the pandemic.
All of the justices have been vaccinated against coronavirus, the courtroom mentioned earlier this 12 months, they usually have begun assembly in-person in some cases, together with for conferences wherein they determine whether or not to listen to circumstances. The justices met for his or her annual picture on Friday, marking the primary time the latest member of the courtroom, Associate Justice Amy Coney Barrett, was photographed together with her new colleagues.
The courtroom has additionally taken different precautions: For example, it continues to carry arguments by phone and can accomplish that for the rest of this time period. A number of of the justices, together with Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch have addressed teams this month and in these circumstances they’ve finished so just about.
The president’s speech will come simply earlier than his one centesimal day in workplace, which can give him the alternative to replace the general public on his key agenda objects. In the previous three months, Biden has taken the reins of a nation contending with political division because the nation continues to reopen, distribute COVID-19 vaccines and debate hot-button points like police violence and immigration.