Published on: Monday, August 23, 2021

If you're planning to argue before the Tenth Circuit this fall, you'll need to bring proof of vaccination. At the Fifth Circuit, just a mask will do. And in four other circuits, don't bother showing up — there are no in-person hearings for at least two months (article available here).

Louisiana and Florida — part of the Fifth and Eleventh Circuits, respectively — each have more than 58 people per 100,000 hospitalized with the virus at the moment, according to the New York Times.

The Fourth and Eighth Circuits are holding arguments remotely through at least September, the Ninth and D.C. Circuits through at least October, and the First Circuit through at least November. The Second Circuit is having in-person arguments this month and requires a vaccine or negative COVID-19 test within the preceding 72 hours.

In the Seventh Circuit, lawyers will need proof of vaccination to enter those courthouses — in Denver and Chicago, respectively — for oral arguments.

In the Eleventh Circuit, vaccinated people can enter the courthouse in Atlanta. Unvaccinated people must provide a negative COVID-test. And unvaccinated employees must provide a least one negative COVID test per week. The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas requires COVID testing twice a week for unvaccinated employees.  In the Western District of Texas, all jury trials were suspended until October.

The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts administration recently announced a systemwide initiative to implement procedures for future emergencies — "not limited to pandemics," but applying more broadly to "extraordinary circumstances relating to public health or safety, or affecting physical or electronic access to a court, [that] substantially impair the court's ability to perform its functions."