Days before the Supreme Court is set to resume in-person oral arguments for the first time in 18 months, Justice Brett Kavanaugh has tested positive for COVID-19, a court spokeswoman said on Friday.
Kavanaugh, who has no symptoms and has been fully vaccinated since January, is the first member of the court known to have contracted the virus. All of the justices have been vaccinated since early this year, the court has said.
The justices have been mostly convening virtually since March 2020 but are preparing to reopen the iconic courtroom to attorneys and a limited number of reporters for the fall docket of cases.
On Monday, the justices met in-person in private for their first conference of the term. The court said all of the justices, including Kavanaugh, tested negative for coronavirus ahead of that meeting.
Tom Williams-Pool/Getty ImagesJudge Brett Kavanaugh testifies during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination be an associate justice of the Supreme Court, Sept. 27, 2018, in Washington D.C.
Kavanaugh, 56, was informed Thursday evening that he had tested positive during a routine test ahead of an investiture ceremony for Justice Amy Coney Barrett that had been long postponed due to the pandemic, according to the court.
“As a precaution, Justice and Mrs. Kavanaugh will not attend Justice Barrett’s investiture this morning,” the court’s spokesperson Patricia McCabe said in a press release. She noted that Kavanaugh’s family has tested negative for the virus.
Barrett is scheduled to have a traditional investiture photo-op on Friday, walking down the steps of the Supreme Court Building with Chief Justice John Roberts and her husband. She was confirmed to the bench in October 2020; on Monday she will take her seat on the bench for the first time since the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
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