As the omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus spread throughout the United States in January, many judges have spoken out about whether to go forward with jury trials at this time, and, if so, how they should happen. Their answers were as varied as the public’s views on the pandemic.

After a year of courthouse shutdowns, many judges appear reluctant to delay trials even further, particularly given a growing backlog of cases. On Jan. 18, U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney was forced to delay a Feb. 1 trial in a copyright case involving rapper Cardi B after the Central District of California voted to extend its ban on jury trials through the end of next month. He called on civil lawyers to object, saying, “The civil bar has been, quite frankly, silent during all of this.”