Two significant announcements came out of the Fourth Circuit this week. The first was that the Court announced that in-person oral arguments will resume for the Court’s December argument calendar (December 7-10). This, of course, is always subject to change pending the status of the pandemic. A few months ago the Court made a similar announcement of its intention to restart in-person arguments, but then had to reverse course and stay with remote arguments for the time being.
The announcement from the Court can be found below, along with the requirements that must be met for an in-person argument to occur. Notably, to minimize gatherings of individuals, the Court will continue to livestream its oral arguments for those members of the public and media who are interested; no spectators will be allowed in the reopened courtrooms. The Protocols also prove a pathway for counsel to request that a scheduled argument proceed by videoconference if the specific circumstances make in-person argument too much of a risk.
Resumption of In-Person Oral Argument for December 7-10, 2021 and Adoption of Entry and Argument Protocol effective December 1, 2021 (uscourts.gov)
UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE FOURTH CIRCUIT POWELL COURTHOUSE ENTRY AND ORAL ARGUMENT PROTOCOL
The other big news this week was the confirmation of Judge Toby J. Heytens to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Judge Heytens will take the seat of Judge Keenan, who took senior status at the end of August. Chief Judge Gregory’s letter announcing Judge Heytens’ confirmation, which includes a summary of Judge Heytens’ impressive legal background, can be found here: