Además, Sotomayor has been participating in the justices-only conference sessions remotely, a court spokeswoman confirmed. Those sessions — where only the nine are allowed, no staff or hangers-on — is where the justices debate and essentially determine the legal direction of the country.
Desde enero, amid the surge of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus, all of the justices have entered the chamber wearing masks, except for Gorsuch. In the ornate courtroom, he sits to Sotomayor’s left. .
El otoño pasado, at the beginning of the term, Sotomayor wore a mask on the bench at many cases. Another source familiar with the situation said that after Omicron surged, Sotomayor expressed her concerns to Chief Justice John Roberts.
CNN has reported that Sotomayor did not ask Gorsuch directly to wear a mask
At oral arguments on Wednesday some justices, including Chief Justice John Roberts, Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas, occasionally took their masks off and later replaced them. The two other liberal justices on the bench, Stephen Breyer and Elena Kagan, kept their masks on even while asking questions.
Under Supreme Court rules, media covering the court proceedings and lawyers arguing before the court have to wear masks, but there are no specific rules regarding masks for justices. All of the justices have been fully vaccinated and received booster shots. They are also frequently tested.