WASHINGTON – When President Joe Biden takes the rostrum Wednesday to ship his first tackle to a joint session of Congress, he’ll have a stay viewers that appears considerably totally different than his predecessors confronted , together with a a lot smaller contingent of the Supreme Court.
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 due to COVID-19 social distancing protocols.
That will mark a departure from previous presidential addresses when a lot of the justices arrived within the House chamber clad of their black robes to hear the president converse. This yr, 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 yr, they usually have begun assembly in-person in some situations, together with for conferences through which they resolve whether or not to hear 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 along with her new colleagues.
The courtroom has additionally taken different precautions: For occasion, it continues to maintain arguments by phone and can accomplish that for the rest of this time period. Several of the justices, together with Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch have addressed teams this month and in these circumstances they’ve achieved so nearly.
The president’s speech will come simply earlier than his a 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.