The Supreme Court has always been a place where, despite their differences, justices have always shown each other respect. Despite their massive ideological differences, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Antonin Scalia had a legendary friendship.
This, however, is the age of Trump. And the culture war has now entered to court’s chambers. According to a report, Justice Sonia Sotomayor must participate virtually because fellow Justice Neil Gorsuch refuses to wear a mask.
Sotomayor is at a higher risk for a severe COVID case since she has diabetes. After she talked to John Roberts, the Chief Justice asked all the judges to wear masks to protect their colleague.
Nina Totenberg from NPR reports:
“They all did. 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. Gorsuch, from the beginning of his tenure, has proved a prickly justice, not exactly beloved even by his conservative soulmates on the court.”
Nina Totenberg reports that (1) the Chief Justice asked his colleagues to mask up out of respect for Sotomayor’s health concerns, (2) only Gorsuch refused, and (3) his refusal forced Sotomayor to participate in arguments and conference remotely. https://t.co/DmsQV8j7Wz pic.twitter.com/7JG5hMN0q7
— Mark Joseph Stern (@mjs_DC) January 18, 2022
Gorsuch, of course, is sitting in a stolen seat. Months before Barack Obama’s term ended, he nominated Merrick Garland for Antonin Scalia’s seat after Scalia passed. Republicans, then in control of the Senate, blocked the nomination since Obama was in his last year. They later went back on their word to place Amy Coney Barrett in Ruther Bader Ginsburg’s seat. Donald Trump nominated Gorsuch after winning the 2016 election, and the justice was quickly confirmed.
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Todd Neikirk is a New Jersey-based politics and technology writer. His work has been featured in psfk.com, foxsports.com, and PoliticusUSA. An avid pet lover, he has been known to contribute to Pet Lifestyles Magazine. He enjoys sports, politics, technology, and spending time at the shore with his family.