- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 27, 2001

Testing for anthrax exposure began yesterday for all 400 Supreme Court employees after laboratory confirmation that spores of the biological poison were present in an air filter at the court's mail-inspection plant located several miles from the court building.
Officials quickly closed the Supreme Court building around midafternoon to begin testing employees and to closely reinspect the entire building, which was declared anthrax-free last Sunday.
If inspections are not finished by Monday, scheduled hearings would for the first time in 66 years be moved to an unspecified courtroom elsewhere in Washington.
There was no immediate word on whether antibiotics were administered to any of the justices or other court employees. This includes the 12 employees who worked this week at the warehouse that screens the court's heavy load of official mail before sending it to the mailroom, which is open to many more workers.
Dr. John Eisold, the Capitol attending physician who briefed court employees on the risk and treatments before testing started, refused to "discuss any individual patient" when asked if justices were tested.
A statement released by court information officer Kathleen M. Arberg said "all employees" would be tested.
"No court personnel have shown any signs of being exposed to or having developed any form of anthrax," Mrs. Arberg said, as officials prepared to close the building at midafternoon for more testing.
"If any contamination is detected, the building will be decontaminated. If the building remains closed on Monday, the court will sit at another location to hear arguments as scheduled," Mrs. Arberg said.
"We're making the assumption something could have come to the mailroom here," Dr. Eisold said in a briefing on the courthouse steps. "We are trying to identify a population in the building that perhaps could have had some exposure. The building has no known contamination at the present time."
The court building already was tested last weekend, according to Mrs. Arberg. She said that as of last Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found no evidence of contamination at the site.
Technicians now must test again to make sure that anthrax has not reached the Supreme Court at any time during this week.

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