Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch’s refusal to wear a mask during in-person arguments has meant fellow Justice Sonia Sotomayor had to work remotely during arguments, NPR reported.
This comes despite the fact the Supreme Court refused to block a federal mask mandate for air travel.
Mr Gorsuch, whom former president Donald Trump nominated, refused to wear a mask while Ms Sotomayor, whom former president Barack Obama nominated, participated in arguments with a microphone setup in her office. Mr Gorsuch has been captured in images being the only justice to not wear a mask on the bench.
Ms Sotomayor has type 1 diabetes, which puts her at risk for serious illness from Covid-19 or even death. Mr Gorsuch also happens to sit next to Ms Sotomayor on the bench.
Similarly, Ms Sotomayor has not been able to attend the weekly conferences among the justices in-person, instead participating by phone.
Last week, the US Supreme Court ruled against the Biden administration’s vaccinate-or-test mandate that required employers that hire 100 or more people to either receive a vaccination against Covid-19 or subject to weekly testing. The Supreme Court’s six conservative justices argued that Covid-19 was not a risk specific to work.
“Although Covid-19 is a risk that occurs in many workplaces, it is not an occupational hazard in most,” the court said in its majority opinion, saying rather that the virus is a “universal risk” people face in homes, schools and in the workplace.
At the same time, the Supreme Court rejected a request to block mask mandates for air travel brought by a father on behalf of himself and his autistic son.