A prominent news outlet vilified Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch on Tuesday, claiming that he refused to wear a face mask around fellow Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is at risk for developing complications of COVID if she were to contract the virus because she has diabetes.
But a statement released by Gorsuch and Sotomayor on Wednesday dumped cold water on the accusation. What was claimed?
NPR reported , citing anonymous sources, that Gorsuch refused to comply with a request from Chief Justice John Roberts to wear face masks in court.
“Sotomayor did not feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked. Chief Justice John Roberts, understanding that, in some form asked the other justices to mask up,” the story claimed. “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.” The claim about the mask preceded nearly 2,000 words about the ideological divide between justices on the court. Thus, the story attempted to frame Gorsuch’s alleged unkindness toward Sotomayor as a political issue.
In fact, the story described Gorsuch as a “prickly justice” who is “not exactly beloved even by his conservative soulmates on the court.” But what is the truth?
The media predictably spread the story like wildfire, which resulted in Gorsuch being condemned on social media. Liberal commentator Elie Mystal called Gorsuch a “dick,” while MSNBC host Rachel Maddow questioned how Gorsuch could live with himself and Harvard Law School professor Laurence Tribe said the alleged refusal to mask up demonstrates “just what kind of jerk” Gorsuch is.
Now, it appears that the criticism was unfounded.
“Reporting that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask surprised us. It […]
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