Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch has refused to wear a mask during in-person proceedings, despite a request from Chief Justice John Roberts for all members of the high court to accommodate Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s concern about Covid-19, according to a new report Tuesday.
Gorsuch’s continued defiance has led Sotomayor — who has diabetes and is therefore at a higher risk of serious illness from Covid — to attend oral arguments remotely, according to veteran NPR Supreme Court reporter Nina Totenberg, citing court sources.
When the justices returned to the courtroom last fall to hear arguments in person, Sotomayor was the only one to wear a mask. With the surge of the highly transmissible omicron variant in the winter, however, Sotomayor felt unsafe sitting next to unmasked people, according to NPR.
Roberts “in some form” then asked the other justices to wear masks, Totenberg reported. Gorsuch, one of three justices nominated by former President Donald Trump, was the only one to refuse.