Supreme Court Justices Respond to Reports of Mask Wearing Tension

Supreme Court Justices Respond to Reports of Mask Wearing Tension

( – Ever since COVID-19 first appeared on US shores, masks have been a controversial topic among citizens, friends, and colleagues. However, most people have worked out how to get by with or without face coverings in their everyday life. So, it was quite surprising this week when NPR reported on alleged tension between US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) Justices about mask-wearing. It was even more alarming when the justices in question quickly denied the report.

NPR Alleges Feud Between SCOTUS Justices

On Tuesday, January 18, NPR published an article, first heard on its Morning Edition, stating that SCOTUS Justice Neil Gorsuch’s “continued refusal” to mask up on the bench led Justice Sonia Sotomayor to attend recent oral arguments through a microphone set up in her office. According to NPR, Sotomayor, who has diabetes and thus is at a higher risk for a severe COVID-19 infection, “did not feel safe in close proximity to people who were unmasked.”

NPR Correspondent Nina Totenberg went so far as to say Chief Justice John Roberts “in some form asked the other justices to mask up” for the in-person arguments.

Three Justices Band Together and Deny NPR Report

On Wednesday, January 19, Chief Justice Roberts released a statement denying he asked his colleagues to wear face coverings. The court’s clear denial of the NPR report is rare but shows a clear attempt to strike down any perceived feud between the justices. The SCOTUS blog shared another joint statement from the justices in question:

Following this statement, NPR declared that despite the justices’ statement of denial, it “stands by” its story as originally published. While Totenberg was adamant her reporting was correct, many Americans were quick to share how both the evidence and the main protagonists of her story, life-long appointees to the highest court in the United States, disagreed with her article’s claims.

Where Does NPR Go From Here?

For decades, National Public Radio has been a centerpiece of national news reporting, bringing a variety of topics to the forefront of citizens’ minds, from political scandals and cultural stories to breaking news. Yet, this clear discrepancy in its reporting has some listeners questioning just how they fact-check themselves and whether or not they can trust the news outlet from here on out. After all, who are citizens supposed to believe in this case — an NPR reporter or three justices from the Supreme Court?

Copyright 2022,