Supreme Court Judges respond to ‘false’ report claiming Justice Gorsuch refused to wear a mask

Three Supreme Court judges have responded publicly to an NPR report released last week saying Judge Neil Gorsuch refused to wear a mask on the bench after being asked to by his colleagues.

Judges Sonia Sotomayor, John Roberts, and Gorsuch himself responded to the report this week, with Sotomayor and Gorsuch releasing a joint statement refuting the NPR report. “Reporting that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask surprised us. It is false. While we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends,” the statement said.

The NPR report, written by long-time SCOTUS correspondent Nina Totenberg, did not directly state Sotomayor had asked Gorsuch to wear a mask, or that he had refused her request.

Instead, the article reads, “… with the omicron surge, and according to court sources, Sotomayor did not feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked. Chief Justice John Roberts, understanding that, in some form asked the other justices to mask up.”

The article continues, “They all did. Except Gorsuch, who, as it happens, sits next to Sotomayor on the bench. His continued refusal since then has also meant that Sotomayor has not attended the justices’ weekly conference in person, joining instead by telephone.”

In response to the report, Chief Justice John Roberts also issued a brief public response, saying simply, “I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench.”

NPR is standing by its reporting. Totenberg reiterated in a segment on Wednesday that the Supreme Court judges had all been asked “in some form.” 




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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