Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch\u0026#039;s reported refusal to wear a mask at in-person proceedings—while his colleague and liberal justice Sonia Sotomayor attended remotely due to health concerns—sparked backlash Tuesday, especially in the context of the Court\u0026#039;s current attack on women\u0026#039;s reproductive health.\r\n\r\nAccording to reporting Tuesady by NPR, citing \u0022court sources,\u0022 the refusal by Gorsuch—who was appointed by former President Donald Trump and sits next to Sotomayor on the bench—came despite Chief Justice John Roberts having asked the justices to wear masks in light of the specific vulnerability of Sotomayor, who has diabetes, to Covid-19. On Wednedsay, Gorsuch and Sotomayor issued a rate joint statement in which they said the reporting was inaccurate.\r\n\r\n\u0022Reporting that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask surprised us. It is false,\u0022 the justices said in the statement. \u0022While we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe CDC says having diabetes can make a person more likely to get severely ill from Covid-19, and Sotomayor has been wearing a mask at in-person proceedings since last fall.\r\n\r\nAmid the surge in Omicron cases, according to NPR, \u0022Sotomayor 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.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe reporting provoked widespread rebuke of Gorsuch.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022That Justice Sotomayor is choosing to participate in #SCOTUS arguments remotely because Justice Gorsuch (and *only* Justice Gorsuch) refuses to wear a mask on the bench is such a perfect microcosm of how millions of Americans are experiencing the pandemic—from both perspectives,\u0022 tweeted law professor Steve Vladeck.\r\n\r\n\u0022Personally,\u0022 said\u0026nbsp;former U.S. attorney Joyce Vance in response to the reporting, \u0022I feel like we\u0026#039;re entitled to expect our Supreme Court justices to be better role models. Or, at least, to have an ounce of decency. Putting on a mask would have cost Gorsuch nothing, but then he didn’t care about risk to front line workers, either.\u0022\r\n\r\nJournalist Sarah Burris tied Gorsuch\u0026#039;s mask refusal to his anti-choice record.\r\n\r\n\u0022So Gorsuch was miffed he felt like he was being \u0026#039;forced\u0026#039; to wear a mask... but he\u0026#039;s about to say women should be forced to carry a dangerous pregnancy to term,\u0022 she tweeted.\r\n\r\nCurrently, reproductive health experts and pro-choice advocates are furious with the right-wing majority of Justices on the court who have refused to halt a state law in Texas that bars abortions after just 6 weeks of pregnancy.\r\n\r\nSen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) said last month it was \u0022outrageous\u0022 for the court to \u0022not to block Texas\u0026#039; unconstitutional abortion ban.\u0022 The people of Texas, she said, \u0022are harmed every day this law is allowed to stand.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe reporting about Gorsuch\u0026#039;s refusal to mask, though now in doubt given the joint statement from he and Sotomayor, comes just days after the Supreme Court\u0026#039;s right-wing majority struck down the Biden administration\u0026#039;s vaccine-or-test mandate for large private employers.\r\n\r\nCorrection/Update: This article has been updated from its original to account for the new statement from Sotomayor and Gorsuch issued on Wednesday, January 19.