With key Trump case looming, US Supreme Court halts hearings

Washington (AFP) –


The US Supreme Court announced its first halt to hearings in over a century due to the coronavirus pandemic, putting off a key case on whether President Donald Trump can continue to hide his tax returns.

The highest US court said that is would postpone oral arguments scheduled between March 23 and April 1 "in keeping with public health precautions recommended in response to COVID-19."

It was the first suspension of arguments for public health reasons since the global Spanish Flu crisis of 1918, the court said.

Other regular court business -- filings and reviews in ongoing and prospective cases -- will continue.

The average age of the nine justices is 67, with two over 80, putting them in the demographic of those most threatened by the coronavirus.

The court said the justices would have their regular conference this Friday, with some possibly joining by phone.

The postponement gives some possible relief to Trump, whose lawyers were to defend his claimed right to keep his tax returns secret from Congress and New York prosecutors in a case scheduled for March 31.

The court said that and other cases would be rescheduled for hearings at a later date.