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Supreme Court Justices Sotomayor, Gorsuch dispute feud over masks

Sonia Sotomayor, Neil Gorsuch
Posted at 5:35 PM, Jan 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 21:30:29-05

Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Neil Gorsuch issued a rare joint statement Wednesday to dispute a report that said the justices were at odds over the wearing of masks.

"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 says.

NPR reported this week that Gorsuch was asked "in some form" to wear a mask while on the bench. He sits next to Sotomayor, who has diabetes. The pre-existing condition puts her at higher risk of severe illness and death from COVID-related complications.

Chief Justice John Roberts denied making any such request.

"I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench," he said.

Sotomayor has been participating virtually as the omicron variant spreads. All other justices have appeared on the bench for arguments. Gorsuch has been the only maskless justice, according to reports.

NPR said it stands by its reporting.