The Supreme Court normally travels around a bit for its oral arguments. While about half the argument sessions are in San Francisco, the court goes to Los Angeles or Sacramento for the others. (See here.) But not much has been normal since the COVID pandemic hit, which caused the court to begin remote arguments in April 2020.

Even though in-person arguments resumed in November, the court has yet to venture from its home base. There haven’t been oral arguments outside of San Francisco since the February 2020 calendar in Sacramento. The April calendar, typically conducted in Los Angeles, will remain in San Francisco this term.

Why is the court still stuck at its San Francisco home? Well, although in-court arguments are back, attorneys still have the option to appear remotely, and the Los Angeles and Sacramento courtrooms need some technical upgrades to accommodate that system.

Cathal Conneely, Judicial Council Public Affairs Director, said in an email that the non-San Francisco courtrooms “need to be updated to support hybrid or remote appearances.” He added that the court is “working with the California Department of General Services” and there is “no confirmed timing right now” for arguments beyond the Bay Area. “The court is working calendar to calendar,” he said.

The court is also considering “other options including remote hearings or outreach sessions,” Conneely mentioned. The outreach “could be a visit to another location,” such as a trial court, Court of Appeal, or university, and could be “combined with student participation (law school/K-12)—possibly Q&A with the justices; pre- and post-argument case review with attorneys/educators; and/or a visit to the ‘courtroom.’ ”