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Oral Argument

After reviewing a case, the Supreme Court determines whether oral argument would be helpful in deciding the case.  If it decides to schedule oral argument, the case is assigned to be heard by the full court or a three-justice panel (3JX). 

Cases assigned to a 3JX panel generally involve fewer issues and/or issues in which the applicable law is settled.  The decision of a 3JX panel must be unanimous and a short written decision is issued in each case, usually within two months of argument.  

Cases assigned to the full court are decided after oral argument by written opinion or an explanatory order. 

Oral arguments are scheduled periodically throughout the year.  The schedule of oral arguments before the court is generally published one month in advance and is available here and at the clerk's office. Oral arguments are streamed live over the internet on the Judicial Branch website, except in confidential cases.  Audio and video recordings of past arguments are available on the website.