Gorsuch and Sotomayor Shoot Down NPR’s Mask-Shaming Hit Piece

In a rare rebuke Wednesday morning, Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor put out a statement refuting an NPR hit piece that attempted to shame Gorsuch for refusing to wear a mask in Sotomayor’s presence.

NPR legal affair correspondent Nina Totenberg published the story, titled “Gorsuch didn’t mask despite Sotomayor’s COVID worries, leading her to telework,”  Tuesday morning, claiming that the conservative justice refused to wear a mask on the bench, putting the diabetic Sotomayor in mortal danger.

Sotomayor has diabetes, a condition that puts her at high risk for serious illness, or even death, from COVID-19. She has been the only justice to wear a mask on the bench since last fall when, amid a marked decline in COVID-19 cases, the justices resumed in-person arguments for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

Totenberg reported that Chief Justice John Roberts ordered the justices to wear masks amid the omicron surge because Sotomayor “did not feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked.”

According to Totenberg, all of the justices complied with the order 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,” Totenberg wrote. “Gorsuch, from the beginning of his tenure, has proved a prickly justice, not exactly beloved even by his conservative soulmates on the court.”

Fox News chief legal correspondent anchor Shannon Bream threw cold water on the whole story Tuesday evening on “Special Report with Bret Baier,” telling Baier “I am told that is not accurate.”

Bream said her Supreme Court source told her “there have been no blanket admonition or request from Chief Justice Roberts that the other justices begin wearing masks to arguments.”

She continued. “The source further stated Justice Sotomayor did not make any such request to Justice Gorsuch. I’m told, given that fact, there was also no refusal by Justice Gorsuch.”

Bream also noted that all the justices “are vaccinated and boosted against COVID and undergo regular testing.”

A joint statement put out by the two justices Wednesday morning definitively shot down the false 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.”



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About Debra Heine

Debra Heine is a conservative Catholic mom of six and longtime political pundit. She has written for several conservative news websites over the years, including Breitbart and PJ Media.

Photo: (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)