Supreme embarrassment: The flush heard around the country

In this May 3, 2020 photo, clouds roll over the Supreme Court at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington.

(CNN) — Well, someone forgot to mute.

The Supreme Court was making history Wednesday afternoon, holding arguments over the phone because of COVID-19, when all of a sudden there was the distinct sound of a toilet flushing.

Across the country, the public that has never before this week been able to listen in real time to oral arguments held remotely was treated not only to deep questions related to the First Amendment and robocalls but also to someone's apparent bathroom break.

The errant flush from an unknown source comes as the justices, lawyers and the country are dealing with the new realities -- and hazards -- of conducting their business over teleconference lines.

The case at issue concerned the Telephone Consumer Protection Act that prohibits unwanted calls to cellphones by use of an automated system. Challengers say one provision violates the Constitution. Lawyer Ramon Martinez, representing political groups challenging the law, was pressing his point when the offending flush occurred.

Martinez did not seem fazed or publicly notice the interruption.

Calls to the Supreme Court and the Justice Department were not immediately returned.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2020 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

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