Supreme Court justices deny ‘false’ story on supposed mask in-fighting — Analysis
Judges say there’s no truth to NPR report saying Gorsuch refused to wear a mask, forcing diabetic colleague to participate in meetings remotely
Neil Gorsuch and Justice Sonia Sotomayor have made a rare joint statement to defend cordial relations at the US Supreme Court. They refute media reports that there was a Covid-19 argument at Marble Palace.
NPR, an American state-funded media outlet funded by the US, reported that Gorsuch rejected Chief Justice John Roberts’ order to wear a face mask. This order apparently stemmed from Sotomayor’s diabetes and high chance of death or severe illness from Covid-19. The story claimed that Sotomayor participated in weekly conference calls and hearings remotely as the Omicron variation of Covid-19 had caused a spike in Covid-19 infection.
Newsweek and CNN continued publishing articles that cited NPR and claimed Gorsuch failed to obey a mask-order. Rolling Stone rewrote the story, claiming that Gorsuch, a conservative judge was standing for his rights. “endanger”His left-wing counterpart Sotomayor, and that he “didn’t care”About her health issues.
The problem is, according to the justices involved, the articles weren’t actually true. “Reporting that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask surprised us,”The judges spoke on Wednesday. “It is false. While we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends.”
NEW: A statement from Justices Sotomayor and Gorsuch:”Reporting that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask surprised us. It is false. Despite our disagreements about law sometimes, we remain close friends and colleagues.
— Adam Liptak (@adamliptak) January 19, 2022
Prior to Sotomayor and Gorsuch issuing their joint statement, Fox News reported that Roberts hadn’t told justices to wear masks and that Gorsuch hadn’t refused any order. Gorsuch wasn’t asked by Sotomayor either.
NPR’s assertions were attributed to anonymous “court sources.” Without citing anyone – not even unidentified sources – the outlet added that Gorsuch “has proved a prickly justice, not exactly beloved even by his conservative soulmates on the court.”
NPR has apparently failed to achieve a 2018 goal for reducing corrections. It corrected an April story that was incorrectly claimed by a senior editor to have been about US intelligence agencies. “discredited” bombshell reporting on the contents of a laptop that President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, left at a Delaware repair shop. Earlier this month, the outlet corrected an article that falsely stated police officers died from injuries suffered in last year’s US Capitol riot.
As of Wednesday afternoon, NPR hadn’t corrected its article on mask-wearing at the Supreme Court.