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Science & Technology

Senators, Supreme Court Justices Face Work From Home Hiccups

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This week, we saw some of the ways the country's trying to adjust to our new stay-at-home world.

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PAMELA TALKIN: God save the United States and this honorable court.

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MARTIN: Supreme Court business always starts with those words from the marshal. On Tuesday, with participants connecting remotely, Chief Justice John Roberts invited the first lawyer to speak. Then...

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PATRICK STRAWBRIDGE: Before these cases - Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the court, the subpoenas at issue here...

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It sounded like attorney Patrick Strawbridge had already begun talking, but then he went back to the beginning of his opening statement. To many people listening in, it was painfully familiar. We are all dealing with the same online hiccups, whether in an elementary school Zoom class or in deliberations at the highest court in the land.

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ADAM POSEN: So at a time when fiscal policy is as much or more in the forefront than monetary policy in their interactions...

INSKEEP: Just before Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell appeared in an online event this week, audience members heard him clearing his throat as he was introduced by the president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

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POSEN: It's very hard to imagine we could have anyone better than Jay Powell, which he's now in.

MARTIN: The most memorable glitch during lockdown, of course, was what happened during Supreme Court arguments last week.

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ROMAN MARTINEZ: And what the FCC has said is that when the subject matter of the call...

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MARTINEZ: ...Ranges to this topic, then the call is transformed.

MARTIN: At this week's Senate committee hearing with Dr. Anthony Fauci and others, the room was mostly empty as participants in quarantine dialed in from their living rooms and home offices. Senator Tim Scott was one of the few physically present.

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TIM SCOTT: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. And to the panel, thank you all for being here virtually. Without any question, we find ourselves in a situation that we wish we were not.

MARTIN: Many of us would agree. And there's maybe some shared sense of commiseration. Senators, Supreme Court justices - they're just like us, managing the stress of working from home and all the mishaps that come from it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.