Worse, the conservative justice refuses to go along with the public safety measure, although Chief Justice John Roberts has asked everyone on the court to mask up out of respect for Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who has had diabetes since childhood. Diabetes is a high-risk factor for developing severe COVID-19. Five of the justices, including Sotomayor, are older than 65, another risk factor.
Worse still: Gorsuch’s seat on the bench is right next to Sotomayor’s.
Gorsuch’s refusal has reportedly forced Sotomayor to call in for weekly conferences instead of participating in person, according to NPR’s veteran Supreme Court reporter Nina Totenberg. Sotomayor is the only justice who has consistently worn a mask since the start of the pandemic.
The Washington Post’s Ruth Marcus asked a court spokesperson why Gorsuch wasn’t wearing a mask and got no response.
In related news, the court’s conservative majority last week voted 6-3 to block the Biden administration from requiring workers at large businesses to either get vaccinated or undergo regular COVID-19 testing. Two of the lawyers arguing against the mandate tested positive for COVID and had to make their cases remotely.
Gorsuch likened the vaccine to “a medical procedure that affects [people’s] lives outside the workplace” in a concurring opinion, which confusingly suggests he’s amenable to mandates in the workplace ― but not elsewhere.
Outside of work, Gorsuch is a spokesperson for the National Constitution Center, a nonpartisan Philadelphia institution dedicated to civics education and civility in politics. He’s also written a book on the subject.