- Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch did not wear a mask to the hearing, even as all the other judges present did the same.
- Two judges, Sonia Sotomayor and Stephen Breuer, appeared from afar due to apparent concerns about COVID-19.
- Gorsuch has failed to wear a mask on the bench during oral arguments since Friday, while other justices who physically appeared for arguments did so in clear recognition of the prevalence of the Omicron version.
- Breyer and seven other judges, unlike Gorsuch, wore masks last Friday, when they heard oral arguments challenging the Biden administration’s mandate for a Covid vaccination.
One of these justices is not like the others.
Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch did not wear a mask for Tuesday’s hearing, even as all the other judges in attendance did, and two of his aides turned away because of apparent concerns about Covid-19. appeared from
Gorsuch has failed to wear a mask on the bench during oral arguments since Friday, while other judges who physically appeared for arguments all did so in clear recognition of the spread of the Omicron version of the coronavirus.
The spread coincides with a sharp increase in the number of Washington, D.C., residents and other Americans who have been infected with COVID and hospitalized as a result of the virus in recent weeks. Gorsuch and all other eight judges Vaccinated and received boosters for COVID.
Last week, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who usually sits next to Gorsuch during hearings, and who until recently was the only justice to wear a mask, spoke remotely via an audio connection in her chambers last Friday. began to participate in the debate.
Sotomayor has diabetes, putting her at higher risk of covid.
On Tuesday, Justice Stephen Breyer also began appearing from afar. Breyer, who is the oldest member of the High Court at age 83, usually sits on the other side of Sotomayor when the court is in session.
Breyer and seven other judges, unlike Gorsuch, wore masks last Friday, when they heard hours of oral arguments in cases challenging the Biden administration’s mandate for Covid vaccinations for workers at large employers and health care providers. the two lawyers participating in those arguments Did this remotely because he had contracted covid.
Unlike Gorsuch, journalists and lawyers attending Supreme Court hearings must wear N95 masks, not less protective clothing masks.
Ruth Marcus, the Washington Post’s deputy editorial page editor, criticized Gorsuch in a column Friday, writing that “like her colleagues, she had a choice whether to wear a mask.”
“Unlike him, he chose poorly,” Marcus wrote.
During Tuesday’s session, six judges other than Gorsuch, including Chief Justice John Roberts, put on their masks, only occasionally removing them to sip water or occasionally ask questions.
The Supreme Court’s Office of Media Affairs did not immediately respond to a query from CNBC about Gorsuch.
The High Court only began hearing arguments in person in October after a more than a year-long period in which they proceeded over the phone because of the coronavirus pandemic.