Sotomayor and Gorsuch say they are “warm colleagues and friends” dispute NPR reporting

According to NPR, liberal justice Sonia Sotomayor attended oral arguments remotely after Neil Gorsuch refused to wear a mask.

While all of the justices are fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19, Chief Justice John Roberts asked the court to wear masks on Sotomayor’s behalf.


Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Sonia Sotomayor issued an unusual statement Wednesday asserting there is no tension on the high court around masking and stressing that Sotomayor did not ask Gorsuch to wear a mask while on the bench.

In the rare statement, the justices said that “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 came just after the first set of oral arguments Wednesday. Gorsuch appeared, again, without a mask and Sotomayor participated remotely from her chambers, as she has done this month amid a surge in the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

Sotomayor suffers from diabetes as an underlying condition and would be at increased health risk if infected with Covid-19.

Chief Justice John Roberts also issued a statement through the court’s press office, saying: “I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench.”