AP Courtside: High Court wraps up Day 4 of phone arguments

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In this May 3, 2020 photo, the setting sun shines on the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court is holding its second week of arguments by telephone because of the coronavirus pandemic, with audio available live to audiences around the world.

The highest profile cases are up this week, including two on Tuesday involving the potential release of President Donald Trump's tax returns. On Monday, the justices heard two cases, including one from California about the appropriate separation between church and state.

Some observations, trivia and analysis from our Supreme Court reporters (all times local):

4:45 p.m.

The Supreme Court appears to be divided over how broadly Catholic schools and other religious employers should be exempt from certain lawsuits by employees.

The court heard arguments by telephone Monday because of the coronavirus. The case before the high court stems from a unanimous 2012 Supreme Court decision in which the justices said the Constitution prevents ministers from suing their churches for employment discrimination. But the court didn’t rigidly define who counts as a minister.

Attorney Eric Rassbac representing two Catholic schools sued by former fifth grade teachers who taught religion and other subjects told the justices that the women count as ministers exempt from suing.

But Justice Sonia Sotomayor, a member of the court’s liberal wing, told Rassbach that he was seeking an exception that was “broader than is necessary to protect the church.”