The Volokh Conspiracy

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Supreme Court

Are the Supreme Court Justices "Happy Campers"?

Nina Totenberg reports on potential strains among the justices and Justice Gorsuch's decision not to wear a mask at argument.

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NPR has posted a story by Nina Totenberg suggesting that there are simmering tensions among the justices on the Supreme Court. From the article, "Supreme Court justices aren't 'scorpions,' but not happy campers either":

 . . . anybody who regularly watches Supreme Court arguments is used to seeing some testy moments in both big and little cases. But you don't have to be a keen observer these days to see that something out of the ordinary is happening.

Some of it is traceable to the new conservative supermajority, including three Trump appointees, a court that may well end up more conservative than any since the 1930s. It's a majority that has evidenced less and less respect for precedent, or the notion of deference to Congress in setting policy.

So it's not surprising that the court's three liberal justices would be upset. . . .

It's not simply an ideological split, according to Totenberg. She reports that the conservatives may have some frustrations with each other.

There isn't a lot of love lost among the court's six conservatives either. They often agree on the outcome of a case but not the legal reasoning, with Chief Justice Roberts sometimes trying to rein in the court's most aggressive conservatives. If you watch carefully, you can see conservative eyes rolling from time to time.

If so, this would not be particularly new. The late Justice Scalia was repeatedly critical of Chief Justice Roberts' minimalist approach.

The opening of Totenberg's story is getting a particular amount of attention, as it addresses how the justices have handled concerns about Covid-19. All of the justices have worn masks to oral argument, except for Justice Gorsuch, and Justice Sotomayor has been participating in oral argument remotely. From Totenberg:

It was pretty jarring earlier this month when the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court took the bench for the first time since the omicron surge over the holidays. All were now wearing masks. All, that is, except Justice Neil Gorsuch. What's more, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was not there at all, choosing instead to participate through a microphone setup in her chambers.

Sotomayor has diabetes, a condition that puts her at high risk for serious illness, or even death, from COVID-19. She has been the only justice to wear a mask on the bench since last fall when, amid a marked decline in COVID-19 cases, the justices resumed in-person arguments for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.

Now, though, the situation had changed with the omicron surge, and according to court sources, Sotomayor 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.

They all did. Except Gorsuch, who, as it happens, sits next to Sotomayor on the bench. His continued refusal since then has also meant that Sotomayor has not attended the justices' weekly conference in person, joining instead by telephone.

Based upon this report, it seems like Justice Gorsuch is acting like an uncourteous cad, but is all what it seems? The particular wording of Totenberg's report (italicized above) caught my eye. What does it mean that the Chief Justice asked the other justices "in some form"? Totenberg is a careful reporter, so this extra language is there for a reason. Just as reporters are often very careful about how they characterize anonymous sources, this qualifying language is serving some purpose. At the least, it suggests that there was not a formal, direct request from the Chief to all of the other justices, but something less than that (or that is all Totenberg's source was willing to say). [And, for those who care, all the justices are vaccinated, so they are all compliant with the OSHA ETS rejected in NFIB v. OSHA, which did not require masks or testing for vaccinated employees.]

An additional reason for caution about Totenberg's report is that some are quick to presume the worst about the Court's conservatives or to see scandal when it is not there. Recall that when Justice Breyer joined Justice Sotomayor in participating remotely in oral argument, some commentators were quick to presume this was a response to Gorsuch's decision not to wear a mask. Yet this was not so. Justice Breyer participated remotely because he had tested positive with a rapid test.

So if the Chief Justice asked all the justices to wear masks to-from argument out of respect to Justice Sotomayor, and Gorsuch refused, I think it's fair to call him out on that. Based on this report, however, I am not certain that is what happened. There may be more to the story.

UPDATE: It turns out there is more (or, rather, less) to the story, as detailed in Josh Blackman's post and its updates in particular.

NEXT: Crime Victims Allege Baltimore Police Department Unconstitutionally Seized (and Destroyed) Their Property

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  1. In what sense of the word are any of the Justices “conservative”?

    1. In the sense that they are literally to the right of the pope?

      1. He's a socialist jesuit from Argentina, 99% of Americans are to his right.

        1. Got that right. Catholics are just waiting him out, what a come down after John Paul II. Now, he was a pope you could have some respect for.

          1. Brett speaks for Real Catholics.

            Plenty of Catholics like the Pope, actually.

            1. People used to talk about Americans who were "cafeteria Catholics," who were liberal Catholics who only chose to follow some of the Church's teachings while ignoring the rest. They might give to charity but use contraception, attend Mass but eat meat on Fridays, for instance.

              Now, it has become a conservative approach; they choose to accept only the things the Pope says that agree with their ideological priors, and ignore the rest.

              But at least liberal cafeteria Catholics didn't pretend they were being faithful Catholics; they just said that they didn't think it was important to follow some of the rules. The modern conservative cafeteria Catholics pretend to be more Catholic than the Pope.

              1. Historically speaking, being more Catholic than the Pope hasn't been difficult during some Pope's reigns. Pope Alexander VI, for instance.

                1. Just...quit speaking for all Catholics.

                  1. Yeah. It seems to me that it's a bait and switch- when the Pope is conservative (or issues conservative edicts), conservative Catholics LOVE to assert papal authority and declare Catholics who disagree with them to be heretics. But put a more liberal Pope in there and suddenly papal authority is meaningless.

                    You choose to adhere to a hierarchical religion- and Catholicism isn't the only one, there's also LDS, Scientology, and many others- the hierarchy's edicts have to mean something even when you disagree with them. You don't get to disagree with the Vicar of Christ on Earth and say you know better than he does what constitutes Catholicism.

                    1. "You choose to adhere to a hierarchical religion- and Catholicism isn't the only one, there's also LDS, Scientology, and many others..."

                      Scientology is a religion, moreover a hierarchial one? Forgive my ignorance, but what are its religious precepts and what is the hierarchy? Is it more a religion than Christian Science is a science?

                  2. Hey, remember when Brett took it on himself to define who is and who is not a Jew?

                    So why wouldn't he also take on the Pope on the subject of what Catholics should believe?

                    1. What Catholic should believe: https://www.pcpbooks.net/docs/baltimore_catechism.pdf

                      What Catholics SHOULD believe (to call themselves Catholics in good standing, or at least not heretical Catholics) is explicitly spelled out, and, as Brett has referenced, the Pope has, well, ignored portions of this that he doesn't like (specifically homosexuality, but also communion after divorce) but won't try to change the catechism either.

                    2. You appear to be analyzing Catholicism like it's Protestantism, m_k.

                      You and the Sedevacantists can have a fine time calling everyone heretics, but it just makes you look silly.

                    3. To be a heretic, as labeled by the Church, you have to manifestly express the heretical belief, and after being notified that your belief was wrong, continue to express it. There has been a lot of Catholics that are badly catechized, so they are not aware that, for example, getting communion after a civil divorce without getting the first marriage annulled, is a sin. There's more, but that's one example where the Pope told someone to go priest shopping.

                      Anyway, you're pretty amusing in this sub-thread about Catholicism. You do the old trick were you prettifog like mad, but when you can *actually* get down to brass tacks...you know, via a giant document that says with great specificity what you should believe to be a Catholic in good standing, then you go "look squirrel" with sedevacantistism, which is out in left field and nobody was talking about.

                      BTW, the Catechism of the Council of Trent (which the Baltimore one just updated) was a REACTION to Prodestantism silly goose.

                    4. What I know about Catholicism is that they are about salvation through an institution. You coming in and telling the institution it is doing it wrong because this document says so is a pretty evangelical way to view things.

                    5. I think you're mixing up Evangelical biblical literalism with a written catechism.

                      Salvation ultimately comes from the mercy of God. But we human, fallible and fallen such as we are, look for guidelines.

                      If, for example, you're like Henry the 8th and don't like the church telling you who you can and can't have sex with via written rules, then by all means found your own church. Catholics believe that said institution, via Peter, is the only one (warts and all) literally founded by God through the second person on the Trinity. So, when it's foundering on the shoals of heresy, we try to get it back out to the sea of Truth rather than abandon ship. That's about as Catholic as it gets mon ami.

                    6. I'm a Unitarian, so we do our shallow theology of most sects around the world at one point or another. Did Catholicism back in 2016 most recently I think.

                      Jesus said on this rock. To a Catholic, this is His Church, directly descended from Peter.

                      This is different than the Protestant's Biblically-driven personal relationship.

                      The catechism alone is not the key to salvation, but the institution that created it is.

                      You can disagree with the Church (more these days than some in the past) but if you declare it heretical, now you're the one with the problem, not the Church.

                      Basically, it's pretty hubristic to insist that the Pope and Church have it wrong, and you have it right, and the key is to follow this summary of teaching the Church created. I
                      If that's your path to salvation, go for it. Insisting it must be all Catholic's path...well, again, more your problem than the Church's.

                2. I think what you're describing is called "protestantism".

          2. Because he covered up all that child molestation?

            1. Well, he did, if you look into Cardinal McCarrick, whom Francis knew was a sexual predator of the worst order.

              1. He meant John Paul II.

                1. John Paul II didn't cover up molestation, though admittedly I don't think he took it as seriously as the size of the problem actually was.

                  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcial_Maciel

                    Look things up just to verify what you think you know. It's saved me many an embarrassment.

                    1. Ah, I suspected that would come along, and I did have an answer prepared. I wondered if you'd go dumpster diving to try to get an "ah ha" moment, which of course you did.

                      The first thing to be aware of, if that commies in Poland would do all sorts of dirty tricks to Catholic priests, of which John Paul II was very aware of having lived under commie rule. So, like I said, he though part of the problem was dirty tricks and didn't take the accusations as seriously as he should have.

                      Secondly, you make the accusation he "covered it up". I'm saying he didn't intervene, nor actively peruse it, even in the specific case you mention, which others close to him specifically refute.

                    2. So it didn't happen, and if it did happen then JP2's Vatican covered it up, not JP2 himself.

                      The Church when under JP2 had a policy to not report molestation charges to civil authorities.

                      There is no need to defend him on this!

                    3. Personally, I thought the canonization as a bit to early. And as someone who thinks every homosexual predator in the Catholic Church should have a millstone tied around their neck and be tossed in the sea, all I'm saying is the man wasn't personally responsible for covering it up. If that's defending him, so be it.

                    4. The Vatican when he was there sure did a lot of covering up.

                      It's pretty willfully blind to absolve him personally at that point.

          3. Did you forget about Pope Benedict?

        2. While he *is* a Jesuit, he's also a catholic. So he's as liberal as Catholic priests come, but before he wore the white slippers and pointy hat, he was openly anti-gay in his priesthood. So unless you're saying that 99% of Americans embrace LGBT persons, I think your math is off.

  2. First word that comes to mind after reading that article is "Kremlinology".

    1. Fantasy, rather

      1. It's inside the beltway bullshit from an MSM syncophant.

        1. Disaffected, childishly superstitious right-wingers who defend reckless, boorish clingers are among my favorite culture war casualties.

          If you would like better Americans to continue to be gracious toward our culture war's conservative losers, perhaps you should pray on it.

    2. Wikipedia: "In popular culture, the term is sometimes used to mean any attempt to understand a secretive organization or process, such as plans for upcoming products or events, by interpreting indirect clues.[citation needed]"

  3. A) This is a respiratory virus which everyone is going to catch eventually , with omicron being a relatively minor strain.
    B) the masks do very little , if anything, to reduce the transmission.
    C) Sotomayer displayed gross misunderstanding of covid and the relevent science, boarding on the science of paranioa.
    D) perhaps Gorsuch was letting Sotomayer know that he was interested in embracing her delusional paranioa.

    1. You're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

      1. You're entitled to think whatever you want about facts, but you aren't the arbiter of facts.

        And that's a fact!

      2. It'll be years (if ever) before we have accurate final numbers on mask effectiveness, but I think you'd agree it reduces the risk during any particular encounter by some percentage that is more than zero but not anywhere close to 100%.

        It's not like Sotomayor is deciding between no-risk if Gorsuch wears it and high-risk if he doesn't. She's deciding between small risk and incrementally smaller risk.

        Maybe she had some personally acceptable level of risk, e.g. 2.4% per session, and did some careful calculation based on a survey of the scientific literature and found that if Gorsuch wears a mask it's 2.1% and if he doesn't it's 2.7%, so no go.

        Nah, not very likely. The most likely explanation is that Blackman's whole story is nonsense. The second most likely is that Sotomayor is making a statement about Gorsuch's conduct that has not much to do with quantitative risk level.

        1. Maybe she had some personally acceptable level of risk, e.g. 2.4% per session, and did some careful calculation based on a survey of the scientific literature and found that if Gorsuch wears a mask it's 2.1% and if he doesn't it's 2.7%, so no go.

          Gee, that definitely sounds like how actual people assess risk.

          1. You might tap the glass on your sarcasm meter to see if the needle's such.

        2. I know how you feel, but this post was from Adler, not Blackman.

          1. Man I screwed up bigly.

            The subject matter and tone seemed so Blackmannish that I didn't even look at the author line.

            1. I knew it wasn’t Josh when I read “Totenberg is a careful reporter”, which is true, but which indicates an appreciation of nuance.

        3. No look at some pre-Covid studies that indicate mask are ineffective versus a virus of this cross section. Its like wearing chicken wire to repel mud.

          Also we have two years of real world data that show zero evidence that masks do anything in real life.

          The two year Halloween should be over by now.

          1. Remember, the same people who argue that masks can't stop covid because the virus is too small think that masks can stop oxygen molecules.

            1. They reduce airflow. Have you tried playing a strenuously physical sport or similar activity while wearing a mask? I have. Everyone in the adult leagues was pulling the mask down around their chin until the requirement was dropped.

              1. I bike with my mask on all the time.

                Lots of gyms where I live require masks.

                You're making shit up.

                1. Sarcastr0
                  January.18.2022 at 1:40 pm
                  Flag Comment Mute User
                  "I bike with my mask on all the time."

                  If you bike with your mask on, then you are have a seriously delusional understanding of covid transmission.

                  1. I do so because I'm too lazy to take it off and stow it.

                    1. But it looks stupid to be wearing a mask when biking as its effectiveness is zero.

                2. How does any of that conflict with what I said? I know many gyms require masks. When they reopened I went to my gym and wore a mask, it sucked but I didn't really care, my wife hated it and so long story short, we have an awesome home gym now. To be fair l was lifting weights which isn't as bad, she was doing cardio which is much worse; I don't do cardio at the gym.

                  Some of the most pro-mask people I know readily admit that running and sprinting and playing sports in a mask is terrible, even unbearable for some of them to the point they simply quit.

                  1. Seems like you have an opinion and personal experience and have decided everyone must share it.

                    1. You're entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

                      Take the end of your vacuum hose and cover it with a mask. Can you hear a change in the sound of the air suction? What do you think the effect is on the cubic feet per minute of airflow?

                    2. Do you think humans are optimized so we can only function athletically with maximum air flow?

                      My exercise of choice is swimming, and I can tell you that's flat incorrect. There is lots of tolerance in our system.

                    3. My factual contention was that masks reduce airflow, in other words, they stop a significant amount of air and oxygen molecules from entering your body compared to the alternative of no mask all else being equal.

                      Whether it's tolerable and just how bad it sucks in the context of athletic activity, is more subjective, as I already indicated with several examples.

                    4. You can't analyze just one side of the system and then declare yourself done with your analysis. That's deceptive.

                      Masks reduce airflow. For the vast majority of normal human functions, that is immaterial.

                    5. All about nuance, IMO.

                      Masks are a factor, restricting air flow, and for some people this is indeed a bigger deal than for others...for various reasons, some more compelling than others.

                    6. And my point wasn't that masks can't affect airflow — although the primary issue with mask wearing while exercising is heat, not airflow — but that one can't both hold that masks can block oxygen AND that they can't block viruses.

                    7. "You can't just analyze one side....For the vast majority of human functions, [reduced airflow caused by masks] is immaterial."

                      Apparently you have an opinion and personal experience and have decided everyone must share it.

                    8. You can't just analyze one side....For the vast majority of human functions, [reduced airflow caused by masks] is immaterial

                      This is not a statement of personal experience. It is the logical flaw in your argument and why you are wrong and a really obvious way.

                    9. "one can't both hold that masks can block oxygen AND that they can't block viruses."

                      True. They block neither. But they do substantially reduce airflow and thus reduce oxygen intake (or require increased efforts for the same intake). Perhaps they reduce viral particle intake as well assuming people just get less breath and don't just breathe harder, but that's not the same thing as substantially reducing the risk of contracting COVID (not to mention the more far-fetched scenario substantially reducing the risk of asymptomatically spreading it others), and then beyond that you have theorizing about respiratory droplets, but on the other hand there's evidence that it's aerosols not droplets that are important to transmission, and then it depends on mask type, electrostatic attraction, blah blah blah.

                    10. "[reduced airflow caused by masks] is immaterial...It is the logical flaw in your argument"

                      [Citation needed]

                      First you claim it's a matter of opinion and subjective experience, and I point out that you can't read good and that I agree.

                      Then, you claim, without evidence, that it's a matter of objective fact, and that everyone's experience (even that of very pro-mask people) is invalid and wrong if it contradicts your unsupported evidence-free assertions.

                      https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/56/2/107 "Cloth face masks reduced exercise time by 14% and maximal oxygen consumption by 29%...Compared with no mask, participants reported feeling increasingly short of breath and claustrophobic at higher exercise intensities while wearing a cloth face mask."

                    11. Burden is on you.

                      As to your linked study...look at the masks they used.

                    12. No the burden is on you. You've already agreed with my claim that masks restrict airflow, which is common sense.

                3. I bike with my mask on all the time.

                  I totally believe this!

                  1. there is a cat1 guy that wore a mask for about 3 weeks when group rides were starting back up. He never went to the front of group with the mask, even though he was cat 1. he put the mask away after about 3 weeks and was back to normal

                4. lmao of course you do.

                  You probably wear a mask alone in the car too.

                  You'll be wearing a mask the rest of your life.

          2. Yes it is often claimed by some on the Right that there is zero evidence that masks reduce the risk of passing on or inhaling infectious viruses or microbes. No question that some masks are more effective than others. But if there is zero evidence that masks reduce the transmission of infectious disease, why do physicians and nurses wear them in operating rooms and hospitals? Is it just a fashion statement?

            1. For surgical masks, splash & droplet protection.
              For well fitted N95 there is a positive benefit to wearers as well as to others.

            2. because they are reasonably effective for most germs, just not effective for respiratory viruses.

            3. "Zero evidence" or "no evidence" is always a dangerous standard to set, as the broader definitions of "evidence" allow enough room to make almost anything rationalizable...

              I would just say the evidence overall is "not strong enough to convince me" that it's worthwhile to weak a mask nowadays in my daily life (barring unusual circumstances). And of course, this is a function not only of how strong we regard the evidence to be, but also a *judgement call* on the risk / benefit considerations.

              1. It is unclear who you are referring to, but you're welcome to ride a bike with a mask and look foolish.
                There is NO evidence at all relevant to testing mask efficacy in such an environment of highly attenuated of virions with no nearly persons. But if you know of any such study by competent medical researchers,please share them

            4. The claimed reason, is, as other posters said, to reduce fluid splash and infections carried that way.

              There's actually no benefit to the person surgery is being done on with respect to infections. They did studies on that in the 80s. No significant difference in post-surgery infections in patients between masked and unmasked surgery teams. (In fact, the patients with masked surgery teams had a slightly higher incidence of infections post surgery, but it wasn't significantly different).

              If you absolutely have to ensure there aren't infections after surgery, the surgeons don't wear masks. They wear full body suits with pumped in air.

            5. I work in an operating room.
              It is completely different from being out in public.
              In the o. r. we make a surgical incision and bypass all the body’s defense mechanisms, including intact skin.
              So we wear paper masks.
              We are not trying to block viruses and do not routinely wear N 95 masks.
              Do not equate trying to keep aeresolized bacteria out of surgical incisions with preventing virus spreading in everyday social interactions.

      3. Martin - the facts I stated are spot on

        You would know they were spot on if you were up to speed on the subject matter .

        Though like many others , ultimate safetyism dominates the assessment of covid risks

    2. I'm old enough to remember when we pitied and sometimes even made fun of people who bathed thrice daily in irrational paranoia and cloistered themselves in hermetic chambers so that Something Out There wouldn't "get" them.

      These days, it seems to have become a race to the bottom.

    3. You've been wrong about everything covid-related for the better part of a year (at least); why stop now?

    4. Virus-flouting, lethally reckless, science-disdaining, disaffected, bigoted right-wingers are among my favorite culture war casualties.

      You should hope your betters continue to be gracious toward our society's losers.

    5. Over the past couple of years, we have all had to assess our own vulnerability & risks, and our responsibilities to others. We all have made our choices. And there has been a lot of theatre. The behavior of Justice Gorsuch is pure simple rudeness & disrespect. You don't treat people you work with that way. And certainly not in public. Your point C is a gross misunderstanding of understanding.

  4. So Gorsuch is the bad guy because he follows the science?
    If Sotomayor is vaxxed and masked herself, all should be fine.
    It is time to call out the street theater advocates for what they are.
    Good old Gorsuch is just standing up to a bully.

    1. Gorsuch is the bully here. He couldn’t mildly inconvenience himself for two hours to make a colleague (and you’d think, friend) feel comfortable for two hours. Everyone else managed to do that. Cause they’re apparently not complete jerks.

      1. I agree. Young Gorsuch must have missed school the day that they taught manners.

        1. Sounds like Justice Karen is the one lacking manners, if she thinks her manners should trump everybody else's, and then leak some gossipy account of the squabble when she doesn't get her way.

          1. That is not how manners work. It is not a fight over whose manners are triumphant, weirdo.

            1. You're lecturing me about how manners work well calling me a weirdo.

              1. You're the one that seems to think courtesy is a competition between your point of view and the other person's.

                That is weird.

                1. "You're the one that seems to think courtesy is a competition between your point of view and the other person's."

                  Huh? This thread is about a conflict between Justice Gorsuch's preferences and Justice Sotomayor's. If you think I'm Justice Gorsuch, you're really weird.

                  You just keep screaming the unsupported claim that Justice Sotomayor's preferences outweigh Justice Gorsuch's.

                  1. No, that's not what this is about! That's not how courtesy works! This is the fundamental point you are missing - courtesy is not about conflicting points of view much at all, that is the wrong analysis!!

                    Good lord, how do you manage.

                    1. "courtesy is not about conflicting points of view much at all, that is the wrong analysis!!"

                      Huh? Why do you keep changing "preferences" to "points of view"?

                    2. Because I think for this function they are synonymous. Do you see a distinction?

                2. Well, manners are not blind acquiescence to the preferences of another. Manners can be politely saying "no thank you". And there's no evidence that Justice Gorsuch was ill-mannered.

                  1. I would say being the one person not masking when at least one Justice has so requested is a pretty good signal.

                    Maybe there are facts to rebut that, but the facts as presented make him look like a jerk here.

                    1. His smug, sanctimonious written opinions certainly don't rebut that.

                    2. "I would say being the one person not masking when at least one Justice has so requested is a pretty good signal."

                      Sigh. Again with the unsupported claim that failure to blindly acquiesce to someone else's request is poor manners.

            2. "That is not how manners work. It is not a fight over whose manners are triumphant, weirdo."

              But that was LawTalkingGuy AND Moderation4ever's point. That HE was the bad guy because he didn't do what SHE wanted.

        2. Moderation4ever
          January.18.2022 at 10:23 am
          Flag Comment Mute User
          "I agree. Young Gorsuch must have missed school the day that they taught manners."

          Odd that you would say that, Its Sotomayer that has the well known reputation of being a jerk.

          1. The only time I've ever heard the "sotomayor is mean" schtick is in reference to oral arguments in the Connecticut firefighters case. Never heard it about that in her chambers or, frankly, in any other context outside of that one case.

            1. LawTalkingGuy
              January.18.2022 at 12:11 pm
              Flag Comment Mute User
              The only time I've ever heard the "sotomayor is mean" schtick is in reference to oral arguments in the Connecticut firefighters case. Never heard it about that in her chambers or, frankly, in any other context outside of that one case.

              LTG - you need to get out of your shell more often. Her behaviour is fairly well known

              1. Okay, then post some examples.

                1. From her CA2 clerks

                  1. And you know the clerks personally? And those clerks broke the longstanding norm of not trash talking their federal judge? A norm that can get them black-listed from elite law? A norm so hard-wired into federal clerks that it takes years for them to open up even about sexual harassment from a judge like with Kozinski?

                    1. LTG - if you want to keep your delusion that Sotomayer is somehow nice in chambers - then go ahead and keep that delusion

                    2. You have produced zero evidence that she's not. It is not a delusion. I literally don't know either way. I just know that people say that about her and....have no basis for saying that because they don't know either.

                      (Also I highly doubt you are having intimate conversations with former Sotomayor clerks where they spill the beans, if you were at that elite level of society, you wouldn't be posting here.

      2. So if Gorsuch doesn't wear his seat belt when riding in the short bus next to Sotomayor, he's the bad guy for making Sotomayor more nervous about the danger she's in?

        1. People who don’t wear seatbelts tend to be jerks tbh.

          1. People who "Karen" over strangers not wearing seat belts also tend to be jerks.

        2. On what planet did you think seat belts were analogous to masks?

          1. On the planet wear we vaccines only protect oneself from hospitalization risk, but somehow must be mandated to protect others.

        3. "he's the bad guy for making Sotomayor more nervous about the danger she's in?"

          Our point exactly regarding Rittenhouse. I knew you'd come around, Mr. A

          1. Why are you nervous about Kyle Rittenhouse? Do you plan to set some dumpsters on fire?

      3. Why couldn't any of the maskholes inconvenience themselves for Gorsuch?

        Why do you people always demand these concessions be made in your direction?

        1. I don't really have a problem with Sotomayor not wanting to be there in person, given that she is high risk, and Sotomayor hasn't actually said that she's upset by Gorsuch not wearing a mask.

        2. Lol “concession.” It’s a mask dude. For a few hours. Get over it.

          1. There was a kid selling newspapers on my ship while in port, 20 cents. Give him a quarter, you had to yell to get your nickel change. He'd say it's only a nickel, what's the big deal? I'd say, it's only a nickel, sell it for 15 cents.

            Works both way. It's a pointless mask, dude. Get over it.

            1. Do you think that story makes the person looking for change look good? Cause it doesn't.

            2. You made it into something explicitly quantifiable. That is a much easier arena to discuss.

              Human nature when amounts are explicit is actually really different from less stark interactions. I can look up a study if that interests you.

        3. Other people wearing masks does not impact Gorsuch. Gorsuch not wearing masks does impact other people. This has been yet another episode of Simple Answers to Stupid Questions.

          1. You have this exactly backwards. Unless Gorsuch (and everyone else in the room) is wearing an N95 mask, the protection afforded by a lesser masks to Sotomayor is minimal. If she's concerned about the risk to her health, she should be wearing an N95 mask, or choose to self-isolate.

            If we accept your premise, there is no end to the polite but unscientific Supreme Court (or anywhere else) mask wearing, because COVID will never be eradicated. We only had the original mask guidance to avoid a creating a shortage of PPE for healthcare workers. There's no reason now, with vaccines, that the vaccinated should be required to mask and a ready supply of masks that actually do protect the wearer.

      4. So Gorsuch is the bully because he doesnt want to endulge sotomayer's paranioa? She like most everyone else is going to catch covid eventually,

        1. Yep. Because he won’t make someone more comfortable. Pretty simple. Again: if you think you’re too good to go along to get along for a little bit….you’re an asshole. Kind of straightforward really.

          1. So anyone is an asshole because they told someone paraniod person to get a grip on reality? sotomayer displayed complete ignorance on Covid during oral arguments.

            1. Maybe learn to spell her name right.

              And yeah. Sometimes you are. Like I think
              god is fake, but I’d be an asshole for telling people to get a “grip on reality”

            2. You know, people sometimes call Brett autistic, but people who act surprised and say, "So someone is an asshole for acting like an asshole?" really fit that much better.

              1. Did anyone call Brett autistic before Brett said he was autistic?

          2. Getting along works both ways.

            You're probably one of those idiots who thinks strikers are always the victims of management, and thinks everyone who disagrees thinks management is always right. Guess what -- it takes two to tango, bub.

            1. There is a first mover thing going on here I don't think you're tracking.

              Acquiescing to a request is a different feel than having a request refused, even if both are just someone asserting their preferences.

              1. Maybe you should be more compassionate to the feelings of the refusenik -- a request where "no" is not an acceptable response is no request at all.

          3. So, you would tell homosexuals to keep it quiet to make others more comfortable? Hey -- it's only silence.

          4. Weird that prayers in school were such a big thing. I mean, couldn't atheists just go along for a little bit?

      5. He'd be a bully if he made a point of walking over to her and coughing in her face, maybe. As it is, he's just not humoring her.

        1. Bully isn't quite right, I agree. Cad seems fine, as Prof. Adler has in the OP. LTG's jerk also works. It's a pretty minor thing to do.

          I have a friend that doesn't like dishes being placed in the sink - straight to the dishwasher only!
          I think it's silly, but also do that for her in both her house and mine. Because I'm not a jerk.

          1. Yeah. I said bully below, but you're right that probably is inaccurate. (Although bully and jerk do go hand-in-hand).

            Yes. Another example: I am not a big fan of taking off shoes when I'm a guest at someone's house tbh. But I always take them off if they ask.

          2. Meh. If Gorsuch is a cad, then Sotomayer is a Karen. He's just as entitled to his preference as Karen is to hers.

            Just like if you had some sort of strong preference that some dishes need be soaked before going in the dishwasher, and your friend threw a fit and ratted you out to Nina Totenberg, then she'd be the jerk. But if you both feel strongly, then you need to figure it out.

            1. then Sotomayer is a Karen.

              No. You're not using that correctly.

              "Ratted you out"? I don't think the fact that Gorsuch wasn't wearing a mask on the bench was a secret.

              1. "No. You're not using that correctly."

                You gonna talk to the manager?

                "I don't think the fact that Gorsuch wasn't wearing a mask on the bench was a secret."

                No, Justice Karen's take, OTOH.

                1. Was known well before Gorsuch was not seen wearing a mask.

                  No one is calling Gorsuch 'Justice cad' but you've gone straight into the name calling, I see.

              2. David<
                What is this "karen" nonsense all about?

          3. If this is your worldview, I'm glad I only interact with you on the Internet.

            Everything being a tug of war like you think it is seems exhausting.

          4. "If this is your worldview, I'm glad I only interact with you on the Internet."

            Because you hate to interact with people who won't accommodate every preference that you vocalize?

            What do you do, irl, if you ask someone nicely to roll down their car window, and they say, "Sorry, I just hate the draft."?

            I could image you would hate it if you felt compelled to accommodate all of my preferences, and I only felt like accommodating some of yours.

            1. If you are a decent, considerate person, you accommodate other people's preferences as much as you can. It's a very simple concept, I can't believe you feel the need to argue about it. Is decency and consideration really that hard for you to understand? Perhaps because it is mask wearing at issue, your ideological blinders simply won't allow you to see this.

              1. To TiP, it seems every interaction is viewed as transactional.

              2. "If you are a decent, considerate person, you accommodate other people's preferences as much as you can."

                Bullshit. Decent, considerate people are perfectly capable of balancing other people's preferences with their own and making decisions to act according to their own preference occasionally.

                1. How is that different than what I wrote? What are you even arguing about? I'm certain you go against your own preferences to accommodate other people all the time, almost everyone does.

      6. "Gorsuch is the bully here. He couldn’t mildly inconvenience himself for two hours to make a colleague (and you’d think, friend) feel comfortable for two hours."

        Why should he feel uncomfortable for two hours to accommodate Justice four-Piccinino's superstitious nonsense? SCOTUS has the resources to determine if there's any actual science behind Sotomayor's preference, and if there is, they can make a rule.

        1. Because we live in a society? I don't understand why this is so hard for some people.

          1. I don't understand why it's hard for you.

            1. You seem to think not being antisocial is some kind of price you need to pay.

              It is not. Unless you are committed to being an asshole.

              1. "You seem to think not being antisocial is some kind of price you need to pay."

                You seem to think that begging the question is an argument. Why is it Gorsuch, and not Sotomayor, who is being antisocial?

                1. Because one has a fear for her life and health, and the other will be mildly inconvenienced for a few hours and everyone else can follow the CDC guidelines. The anti-social person is the one who can't inconvenience himself for another, when everyone else managed to do it.

                  1. LawTalkingGuy
                    January.18.2022 at 12:32 pm
                    Flag Comment Mute User
                    "Because one has a fear for her life and health,"

                    you hit the nail on the head - She is paranoid and Gorsuch has no interest in embracing her paranoia.

                    1. Uhhh it's actually not paranoid to be worried about COVID if you're diabetic. Like that's pretty sensible.

                    2. LawTalkingGuy
                      January.18.2022 at 12:40 pm
                      Flag Comment Mute User
                      Uhhh it's actually not paranoid to be worried about COVID if you're diabetic. Like that's pretty sensible."

                      yet the mask will make near zero difference.

                    3. But you're calling her paranoid for being concerned. Also if it is an N95 it would

                    4. "Uhhh it's actually not paranoid to be worried about COVID if you're diabetic. Like that's pretty sensible."

                      Well, per last weekend's admissions from the CDC, diabetic, elderly, and pick two more from column A. They studied 1.2 million people over the last year, and 78% of the deaths were people with at least FOUR recognized comorbidities. EVERYBODY with a severe outcome had at least one comorbidity.

                      Basically, Covid takes people with one foot in the grave already, and trips them.

                      But she's rational to be careful, with two strikes already.

                    5. Well, per last weekend's admissions from the CDC, diabetic, elderly, and pick two more from column A. They studied 1.2 million people over the last year, and 78% of the deaths were people with at least FOUR recognized comorbidities. EVERYBODY with a severe outcome had at least one comorbidity.

                      Well, no. Brett falls for yet another right wing social media hoax. Those particular statistics were about vaccinated people only, not the whole population.

                      (True, Sotomayor is vaccinated, so it applies to her. But since she does have comorbidities, the higher risk applies to her also.)

                    6. LTG,
                      There is little epidemiological evidence that being diabetic is a significant risk factor. That was an early guess from the CDC based on no epidemiological evidence.

                    7. "Well, no. Brett falls for yet another right wing social media hoax. Those particular statistics were about vaccinated people only, not the whole population."

                      And Sotomayor is vaccinated.

                      I will admit that the CDC rather conspicuously failed to report the corresponding number for people who haven't been vaccinated, though I presume they have the data, and could have. Maybe because they would have been similar, and that wouldn't have helped them encourage people to get vaccinated?

                  2. when everyone else managed to do it.

                    Yep. You'd think the fact that seven other justices had no problem with this would indicate to the pro-disease crowd which party is being unreasonable.

                    1. I mean...Alito and Thomas wore masks. Alito and Thomas.

                  3. "Because one has a fear for her life and health, and the other will be mildly inconvenienced..."

                    Then maybe Gorsuch is doing her a favor. She's much safer doing the argument remotely.

                    1. She'd be safer still if she lost 15 pounds.

                      It wouldn't stop her from getting it but it would make it far less likely she would be very sick.

                  4. "Because one has a fear for her life and health, and the other will be mildly inconvenienced for a few hours and everyone else can follow the CDC guidelines."

                    Her fear is as laden with paranoia as if she was afraid of Thomas because black men are dangerous.

            2. I'm not the one whining about following the rules and am doing my best to make people feel comfortable.

              1. I'm not sure you understand the story. Sotomayor is the one whining, and as far as we know, and Gorsuch is following all the rules. If there's merit to Sotomayor's position, they can make a rule based on facts and data.

                1. This is not how humans interact.

                  1. Lol. The way you handle something like this in real life, with manners, is that you discreetly ask your colleges how hey feel about masks, and if you get the impression that anybody is strongly opposed, you do the argument remotely.

                    The way you handle it if you're a controlling jerk is you make the demand publicly, and then bitch to Nina Totenberg if you don't get your way.

                    1. The vast majority of interactions between people does not start with 'hold on, have you cited sufficient facts and data?'

                      That's a discussion for later.

                      And there is no evidence Sotomayor went to Nina Totenberg. It looks a lot like that's not what happened, actually.

                    2. "The vast majority of interactions between people does not start with 'hold on, have you cited sufficient facts and data?'"

                      No, as I said, the proper way to broach the situation would be for Sotomayor to say, "So how do you feel about masks?"

                      Not for her to say, "So, I don't really care how you feel about wearing masks, but I have this unsupported belief that you are endangering me if you don't wear one, so pleas wear one. And if you don't I'll make a stink about it.

                    3. You are making this comparison -

                      Please wear a mask::How do you feel about masks.
                      To
                      OK::Not till you cite your evidence.

                      These two sets of interactions are not comparable in the loss of courtesy from A to B.

                    4. No. Asking someone to wear a mask may or may not be an imposition depending on how they feel about wearing a mask. If they don't care, then asking them to wear a mask is nbd.

                      But if they're strongly opposed to wearing a mask, then you're imposing on them, and common courtesy requires that you have a good reason for imposing on them.

                    5. You are ignoring 3 things:

                      First mover.
                      Burden of ask.
                      How common the ask is.

                      Courtesy is not a symmetric 'who is willing to concede' interaction.

                  2. I think an important factor here is that this is an issue which divides society - i.e., those who believe masks are 'worthwhile' and those who don't. And yes, each side has played a role in "politicizing" this by trying to act like their view is somehow the only reasonable one (i.e., "it shouldn't be political - but only because everyone should agree with me!" Nope...).

                    In such cases each side should, to be courteous, at least *acknowledge* the burden on the other (even if unequal). My general rule is that I *will* wear a mask as a courtesy for an acquaintance whom it makes more comfortable - but only if they show appreciation for my legitimate view and my gesture of accommodation. (If they act like I'm somehow beyond the pale for not inherently agreeing to the depths of my very soul, then all bets are off...)

                    We have this weird dynamic nowadays where people try to "will" their view into consensus status - but it simply doesn't work that way. When society is truly polarized on something, trying to win by sheer decree/insistence/etc. is counterproductive at best. Mutual respect is the only reasonable path, no matter how much it hurts to acknowledge that a view you find crazy is indeed legitimate...

  5. Is there some strange SCOTUS rule that makes it more acceptable to have a justice participate remotely than to just seat Gorsuch and Sotomayor at opposite ends of the bench on an interim basis?

  6. Lol what a jerk. Seriously he can’t do the bare minimum out of respect for his colleagues for a damn hour or two? WTF is wrong with him? And before anyone comes in with: “masks don’t work” “it’s his choice” “he’s free to be a free man” or whatever I want you to consider this statement about what it means to be an asshole from the reddit sub, AITA:

    “…in the real world, people who can’t just go along to get along most of the time? People who don’t want to mildly inconvenience themselves to help out the people around them? People who don’t seem to put any stock into the idea of collectivism? The people around them are going to consider them to be assholes.”

    Full post here about internet values and the real world that I think is worth a read:

    https://www.reddit.com/r/AmItheAsshole/comments/d6xoro/meta_this_sub_is_moving_towards_a_value_system/

    1. Citing a subreddit does not make an argument more convincing, especially since that subreddit in particular has systemic issues that make it a laughingstock.

      1. He's citing a China owned and heavily manipulated social media platform.

        Good grief.

        1. Lol. Do you know how Reddit works? It’s just a post by some guy about the nature of being an asshole I think is insightful. I don’t think the CCP is controlling the content.

          1. He doesn't even know what Reddit is. (It is not "China owned.")

            1. Reddit is well known as being the largest gathering of NPC morons and heavily biased moderated and astroturfed content in the history of the world.

              1. NPC? You're into some 4chan nonsense, ML?

                Good luck with that. Don't shoot anyone.

                1. The best part of that insult, is how unoriginal and predictable it became....much like a non-playable character.

                2. The NPC meme is very mainstream. Never have read 4chan and wasn't aware that this originated on 4chan, while you are, so you're more into 4chan than me, not surprising.

                  1. About half of all internet memes originated on 4chan. It's hard to track them all back to the source...

                3. But you white-knighting Reddit is the most fitting and predictable thing ever. ????

                  1. I tried a laugh emoji. It didn't work. ???? 🙂 ????

      2. It’s not a political argument. It’s a “ what does it mean to be a jerk argument.” (Although I guess on some level that is political too, as it involves decision making that affects other people).

        Oh and that post was criticizing the sub.

        1. Where did I say "political?"

          1. Oof need more coffee I guess, my Brain inserted political. But my main point stands: the source doesn’t matter it’s one guy’s post about the nature of being a dick. I mean…can you refute anything he said?

            1. Yes. When someone is one of nine who are supposed to be the ultimate arbiters of truth in some fashion: 1) who the fuck cares if he's nice or not; 2) this is all based on an unknown third party who didn't use clear enough language to actually say that Gorsuch knows people want him to wear masks; 3) it's not weird to think that he, as a judge, should act based on reasonableness and not on what he may perceive as theater; and 4) we don't know that Sotomayor is not attending because of Gorsuch. She could easily be attending virtually based on an a separate reason and Gorsuch is choosing not to wear a mask because she's not coming anyway (reversing cause and effect). The whole thing is a joke and without much more information no one can say anything that wasn't already known: Gorsuch isn't currently wearing a mask and Sotomayor isn't attending in person.

              1. Hey! The whole point of the internet is to assume facts not in evidence and make a mountain out of a molehill so the mountain can give birth to a mouse.

    2. The science people crow about says that if Sotomayor is vaccinated, she is in no danger from Gorsuch. The science also says that masks have no correlation with spreading the disease.

      Why does the party of science ignore the science?

      1. Way to miss the point.

      2. This is not what the 'science people' crow, weirdo.

        A layered approach of masks, social distancing, and vaccines has been the general approach for like 6 months now. Worldwide, not just in the US.

        If you need to strawman that hard, maybe you're the one with the hard to defend position.

        1. Hasn't worked out too well, unfortunately = the layered approach

          There is a ton of learning from the last two years.

          1. As opposed to what?

            America isn't doing great, but other countries using that approach (and that's most of them at this point) have had better results.

            Results-oriented reasoning is hard in this case because we don't have access to the counterfactual to compare.

            1. Is it possible that the countries that did better didn't order nursing homes to take in carriers? I mean, that really hurt our numbers, no fooling.

              1. We are also doing bad in current per capita death and case rates. Or were as of last week.

                I suspect it's we have a larger contingent of anti-vaxxers.

                1. "We are also doing bad in current per capita death and case rates. "

                  We're also doing bad in factors like obesity. Data analysis is hard.

                  1. That would make sense if we weren't doing well until pretty recently.

                    https://jabberwocking.com/why-is-the-us-death-rate-from-covid-19-so-high/

            2. What does that actually mean? = Results-oriented reasoning is hard in this case because we don't have access to the counterfactual to compare.

              1. 'Didn't work well' is based on some assumed baseline.

                We don't have a baseline because we don't know how much worse/the same it would have been with a different approach.

        2. S_O,
          Yet in the present Omicron wave. There is little if any evidence that the "layered approach" has either reduced the rate of transmission or lowered the reproduction number for the virus.
          What has changed markedly is the case fatality rate dropping or ~0.3% or less in most countries.

          1. How would we tell? As I said above, purely phenomenological studies won't work great in cases like this because we don't have the counterfactual.

            Instead, modeling makes it pretty clear what works and how.

            If you have three independent methods each of which reduces transmission and infection, combining them will do the same.

            1. I don't think you need a counterfactual to evaluate....that the layered approach has not worked out too well. SD did not have lockdowns, mask mandates, shut downs of churches, synagogues, vaccine mandates.

              They seemed to have come through this well enough. Certainly better than the People's Republic of NJ, where our incompetent governor managed to kill several thousand nursing home patients with his utter incompetence, having nursing homes take in Covid+ patients.

              1. We have known for ages that states are not comparable to other states. As such, we can't know what woulda happened if a given state decided to discard a layered approach.

                And bringing in other irrelevant policies is non sequitur.

                1. S_O,
                  You clearly don't actually want real evidence as it might contradict your prejudices.
                  Weren't yo the guy who think that social "sciences" are science?

                  1. Well, this is a disappointing comment.

                2. "We have known for ages that states are not comparable to other states."

                  Note even when they pursue the same policies. Because it mostly isn't the policies effecting the rates, it's local conditions like climate and population density.

            2. S_O,
              We would tell by running the numbers ans any scientist would. Plot Ro vs. percentage of vaccinated or percentage of boosted. Plot fatality rates versus % vaccinated or boosted. Make a correlation graph country by country of vaccine rate and Ro and vaccine rate vs. fatality rate.
              Make comparison of those correlations region by region to account for regional differences.
              Your idea of modeling does not hold water as there are no firm models of transmission in time and space. Your last sentence makes no sense. In fact neither does the first sentence.
              If you want to take the trouble you can find countries with any combination of vax and booster programs that you might think of. Look at all of them. No cherry picking.
              And when you look at countries with high vax rates and high booster rates, you'll see that the "booster binges" do not hold back omicron infections. What is reduced in almost all countries is the fatality rate, the hospitalization rate and the ICU admission rate.
              Try to think like a scientist once again.

              1. You think the only real science is clinical? That's a very limited view.

                I may not read as many preprints as you, but I talk to enough scientists working on this to know that comparing across states is quite dodgy, despite what you claim. You can only eliminate the variables you identify; and right now there are clearly hidden variables we have not identified; states that do not correlate despite similar policies, etc.

                My job requires me to be a generalist in what scientific approaches I highlight. You have a particular area you specialize in. Your main error is to assume your way is the best way.

                I never took you for a hard science chauvinist. I used to be one until I worked with social scientists and talked with them about what they do. Until you do that, don't be an asshole.

                1. S_O,
                  My comments about Omicron are not based on preprints. They are based on many hours of statistical analysis. Yet it is you who debased such observational epidemiology in your post. Hence, my comment about you defending social sciences as science.
                  "Your main error is to assume your way is the best way."
                  I've made no error. Rather you have made the error in assuming that epidemiology is conducted in the manner of Aristotelian logic. I'm afraid your business of counterfactuals, insults a broad swath of biostatistics and you compound that by calling uch procedues errors.
                  I'd turn your admonition around regarding biostatistics and epidemiology. Talk with some who practice these sciences. Until you do, don't be an asshole.

                  Incidentally, in your reply you completely sidestep, answering in substance. In fact you often do that. How about engaging in a real discussion about the epistemology of studying the spread of disease. I cited hard statistics openly available to all to analyze. Generalist or special, you should confront the facts and the method, not engage in a broad dismissal that proves nothing to anyone.

    3. Refusing to cater to someone's irrational discomfort isn't bullying no matter how mild the inconvenience may be.

      1. And what if you’re the only one who’s thinks it’s irrational but everyone else thinks it is rational!? Like here. He’s the odd man out who can’t go along to get along for two hours. That makes him a jerk.

        1. If 7 people in a room think a thing and 1 person doesn't go along he is automatically a jerk? That sounds like peer pressure, not rationality.

          1. I mean if seven people don’t want to smoke around their friend because that friend really hates it…and one does it anyway because he doesn’t want to cave into peer pressure. He’s a jerk.

            1. What if the friend doesn't want anyone to drink water around him for fear of drowning? Is the man a jerk if he doesn't comply?

              1. The thing is, wearing a mask isn't an extreme example like that.

                1. And his example was at the other end of the spectrum. The point is that the rationality of the preference is controversial to some extent.

                  1. Rationality isn't the test.
                    This is a social situation. Courtesy is not about rationality.

                    (Assuming the facts are as implied in the article).

                    1. How do you define courtesy?

                    2. Just like the AITA post pointed out: yeah people are allowed to do many things, and it might even be rational for them to do those things....but even if those two aspects of an act are present...you can still be a jerk for doing it.

                    3. The exact definition is not material. It is enough to know that humans do not interact with one another via individual utilitarian calculous.

                    4. Is there a point at which is it better to be discourteously rational than courteously irrational?

                    5. That is a false choice. Rationality is not superior to courtesy.

                      It is also demanding line drawing in a qualitative regime, which is a mug's game.

                    6. I'm not saying that rationality is superior to courtesy. Let me rephrase the question: Are there *some* social situations where it is better to be rational than courteous?

                    7. Of course.

                      Given the normalcy of the request and the small size of the burden, this is not one of those times.

                    8. Personally, I think that promoting irrational behavior isn't courteous. In the short term you'll seem like a jerk, but in the long term you may have actually been doing what was best. Obviously if something doesn't really matter (it isn't values based or won't have a widespread impact) and the burden is slight I'm willing to play along even if it isn't totally rational. But that has more to do with the fact that I have limited time and energy rather than the primacy of being courteous. I think in an ideal world we would all place rationality over courtesy, but alas.

                      Whether he is right or wrong, maybe Gorsuch overvalues rationality in social situations and we are seeing that play out here.

                    9. Dude, I hate to break it to you...but people probably think you're an asshole...

                    10. Part of courtesy is the humility to allow your understanding of what's rational is not the be all and end all of correctness.

                      People who appeal to rationality are rarely actually rational, they're just really into their own deal and deem that rational to the exclusion of everyone else's point of view.

                      That kind of viewpoint imperialism is not just discourteous, it's antisocial.

                      Don't take everything so seriously.

                    11. @LawTalkingGuy
                      I'm more concerned with being rather than seeming.

                      When it comes to reinforcing harmful irrational behavior, I'd rather be helpful and seem like an asshole than be harmful and seem nice.

                      With all courtesy, you might want to speak with a little more deference (yes even on the internet) lest people think you are an asshole.

                      @Sarcastr0
                      I actually agree that people who claim to be perpetually steeped in rationality are just thinly veiling their arrogance. I'm not claiming that if I think something is rational it is most definitely rational. Obviously the interplay between courtesy and rationality is complicated. What we've been talking about is oversimplified. There are other factors such as confidence. I can have an opinion on the rationality of something, not be confident in that opinion, and allow that to give way to courtesy.

                    12. I don't find confidence to be super well correlated with correctness. Especially when it comes to stuff where what is correct will not be clear for quite some time.

                      But yeah, there are lines. I think we agree on that.

                      I went to an engineering school and tend to bridle whenever I see someone citing their rationality - sorry if I jumped down your throat 😛

                    13. Sarc,

                      I too went to a school that was pretty engineering/science heavy and there were a lot of people who thought that way about a lot of things, including social interactions. Even amongst my friends there were people who would be considered jerks based on their elevation of their own "rational" views of situations over social norms.

                    14. @Sarcastr0

                      Agreed that our confidence isn't infallible and no worries!

              2. You know in the fifties, the paranoid person was the anti-smoker...the person "following the science" would be the person who smoked regardless of the personal preference of others.

                1. "You know in the fifties, the paranoid person was the anti-smoker...the person "following the science" would be the person who smoked regardless of the personal preference of others."

                  That smoking was not healthy was not exactly unknown knowledge in the 50's.

                  ...and, again, citing science in THIS situation is a bit absurd.

          2. Taking on minor burdens due to someone else's preferences is a pretty normal thing for well socialized people to do.

            Performative assholery has become a coin on the right since 2016, though.

            1. Are we allowed to question the preferences of other people even if the burdens are minor?

              1. It's a free country.

                But that's generally considered discourteous and frankly odd behavior when someone makes a minor request.

                1. "But that's generally considered discourteous and frankly odd behavior when someone makes a minor request."

                  Sounds like something an incel would say.

              2. Sure. Question away. Here's how to do it without being an asshole: "You know, I don't really think this is necessary… but since you ask, fine."

                1. "Question away. Here's how to do it without being an asshole: "You know, I don't really think this is necessary… but since you ask, fine.""

                  Another way is, "This makes me really uncomfortable, so I don't think I'll do it."

                  I'm shocked at the arrogance of people bristle at the concept that someone would politely decline a request that they make. Y'all really aren't used to being told no, are you?

    4. Lot of assholes going to reveal themselves on this one.

      1. It's performance.

        I'm explaining social graces 101, but ignoring social graces is how you do politics now for a bunch of people (right and left, in different ways).

      2. Yeah LTG, I am staying out of this one. 🙂

        1. "I'm explaining social graces 101."

          Lol. Here's social graces 101:

          If someone asks you to do something, you may do it, or you may politely decline to do it.

          Thus endeth the lesson.

          1. "If someone asks you to do something, you may do it, or you may politely decline to do it."

            Uh that doesn't work for a whole lot of interactions. For instance, if I declined to move my car down the street for a few hours so my neighbor could put a u-haul there and offload things while he moves in....it doesn't really matter how "politely" I did it, I would be failing at social graces 101.

            1. So you'd make some old lady walk a few blocks through the snow because you didn't plan your move properly? What a jerk.

              1. Well this discussion has moved way beyond masks to just you expressing a basic inability to function in society. Who thinks about things like this? Seriously. Many favors are asked because the requester failed to take some contingency into account.

                Person: Can I borrow a few quarters for the meter? I'm all out.
                You: what kind of jerk doesn't bring a roll with him wherever he goes.

              2. "Well this discussion has moved way beyond masks to just you expressing a basic inability to function in society."

                You're the one running around calling people jerks.

                And now you're saying that being a jerk includes declining to accommodate demands for money?

                1. I'm calling people jerks who deserve it. Like you apparently.

                  1. I mean, he's either doing a bit or he's beyond hope.

                    "You mean, you think people should do favors for other people?"

                    "You think I'm a jerk just because I say no any time someone politely asks me for something that they need that would mildly inconvenience me? Oh yeah? Well, they're the jerk for asking for a favor! So there!"

                    1. "You think I'm a jerk just because I say no any time someone politely asks me for something that they need that would mildly inconvenience me?"

                      People are claiming that Gorsuch is a jerk for failing to do a single thing that he was asked to do. There's no evidence that Gorsuch says no any time he is politely asked to do something.

                      If you have to change facts around to make your case, it's a good indication that you're wrong.

                    2. I wasn't talking about Gorsuch. I was talking about you.

                    3. I mean, this isn't very hard.

                      I suppose someone who has refused every single favor they've ever been asked would be a jerk.

                      But refusing a single favor doesn't make somebody a jerk.

                      I don't know why you guys are spending so much energy insisting on such an obviously meritless point.

                2. And yes... if its just a quarter for the meter...you are a jerk for saying no if you happen to have a few to spare.

          2. LOL....Yeah, I get it. I was responding to: Lot of assholes going to reveal themselves on this one.

            I thought I was being funny. Maybe not. Oh well.

    5. "People who don’t seem to put any stock into the idea of collectivism? "

      Thank you for clearing up your position.

  7. There may be more to the story.

    That's a very courteous conclusion after a spot-on deconstruction of the sort of gratuitous weasel language that unfortunately pervades journalism these days.

    People who speak the truth generally can do so clearly and concisely. People who obfuscate usually do so for a reason. Here, it seems clear the reason was that Nina was desperate to run a "Gorsuch is a dick" hit piece and needed to massage the facts to fit.

    1. We don't actually know, so you jumping to conclusions makes it look like *you* are desperate to run with a "Nina is a dick" post.

      1. The only conclusion I've reached (with both feet firmly on the ground) is that words mean things. Please offer a cogent alternative explanation for littering the piece with awkward qualifiers were they truly unnecessary.

        1. I don't know. Some below offer some explanations.

          But unlike you I'm not going to draw any conclusions as of yet; the truth will out on this one.

  8. There is zero reason to think any of this is accurate. Its political spin from a left wing reporter.

    1. Well he didn’t wear a mask, everyone else did, she wasn’t there. Whatever the Chief said or didn’t say, he’s still a jerk.

      1. Whatever you or anyone else says, he is following the science that masks don't work and vaccinations do.

        1. Except they do work, it depends on the type of mask. If they all had quality n95 or kn95.

          And again doesn’t make him any less of a jerk.

          1. 'quality n95 or kn95"

            Are they wearing those? Are they properly fitted?

            1. I don’t know. But I assume SCOTUS has access to those.

              1. Doesn't it make a difference? CDC and other authorities now say cloth and paper masks don't work.

                If the other justices are wearing cloth masks, she is still at risk, right?

                1. That is not what the CDC says about cloth masks. They say they're not as effective as other options.

                  1. Right. Sorta like a linen sheath condom is "not as effective" against pregnancy as a vasectomy. While technically correct, it would of course be irresponsible to leave people with the impression that the former was meaningfully effective.

                  2. the CDC is also stating that kids should be vaxed.

                    In other words, the CDC is promoting extreme safetyism that has been and will continue to be counterproductive.

                    1. You choosing to accept the authority of some dumbass blog over the CDC doesn't mean the CDC is extreme.

                      Kids are vectors to transmit to adults. I'm not sure I agree with everything the CDC says and does, but I think including children is legit.

                    2. It is not, of course, "counterproductive" to vaccinate kids.

          2. Masks dont work - If you made any attempt to follow the science, you would know that.
            22+ months into a respiratory viral pandemic and people still believe masks work - seriously.

            1. Your second sentence really shows how sciency you are, with your all or nothing thinking. Much science.

          3. Worth noting that the Supreme Court's rule for lawyers appearing before them is N95.

      2. This is assuming that Gorsuch is the reason she's not attending in person, rather than simply worrying about the effectiveness of vaccines with a new variant or just reassessing the dangers to herself.

        1. We know he didn’t wear a mask. That’s enough to put him in jerk territory for me. He can’t mildly inconvenience himself to “Go along to get along” for two hours max because he’s convinced he’s
          right. That’s classic jerk behavior in any context.

          1. We don't know that he's not trying to "get along" because we don't actually know that he's been asked to wear a mask. Some unknown person with unknown knowledge, apparently of each justice, claims that Roberts asked/intimated to everyone that they wear a mask. Nothing is offered in support and there aren't that many people with loose lips who would know what Roberts asks of each justice, apparently separately.

            1. Look, do we know it to an epistemological certainty? No. But we do know that they've required attorneys in their courtroom to be masked. We do know that seven of the eight who were present were masked. We can draw some tentative conclusions at least from those facts alone.

            2. "we don't actually know that he's been asked to wear a mask."

              We also don't know what his reason is for declining. Is it inconvenience, or something else.

  9. Presumably "in some form" simply reflects the fact that the Chief has little to no authority over the other justices? In normal 2022 English when a boss "asks" someone to do something, that reads like a mandatory instruction. Presumably when the Chief spoke to the others (or emailed them, or sent them a mimeo memo), he was careful not to exceed his authority. And in relaying that fact to non-expert 3rd party readers, the journalist was careful to flag a) that he did that, and b) that she doesn't know the exact words he used.

    1. Well, true, the Chief justice actually doesn't have much authority over the other justices. He can assign the decision if he's in the majority, there are, I think, some other procedural things, but, fundamentally, they don't work for him. They're co-workers, not subordinates.

  10. Meh, how is this any different than any other work place?

    They're just people, not gods.

  11. Were all the justices present except Gorsuch wearing N95 or KN95 masks? If not, as per the CDC guidance on masks, it was little more than mask theater.

  12. "more conservative than any since the 1930s"
    I'm sure the justices are champing at the bit to enforce segregation, question the propriety of women voting, and regret the repeal of Prohibition.

    Or maybe categorizing people as conservative/liberal and comparing simple numbers over time doesn't extrapolate very well and is misleading, to say the least, for political messaging.

    1. I am confident that today‘s conservative majority will show more “respect for precedent” than the liberal majority that took control of the Supreme Court in 1937.

  13. Who cares what these partisans and morons think or do?

    Most of the time we can predict the outcome of the case based upon ideology alone.

    This institution is as worthless and untrustworthy as just about every other institution.

  14. Imagine that, the media lies. "Paramedic reports Kyle Rittenhouse was 'Active Shooter' at Civil Rights Protest" for instance in running for one of the world's most deceptive article headlines of 2021.

    The author knew exactly what they were doing here. Discredit a "conservative" justice by making them look like an unreasonable fool out to stick it to an "opposing" justice who is there obvious victim in the play acting going on in this story. If this were a "fair" article it might include a sentence about how the CDC recently changed its guidance that most masks do much less than originally thought and wearing a mask only makes much of a difference if there is also social distancing. Of course, nothing here because why report on facts.

    1. "If this were a "fair" article it might include a sentence about how the CDC recently changed its guidance that most masks do much less than originally thought and wearing a mask only makes much of a difference if there is also social distancing."

      it was common knowledge from the start that masks did not and would not work for a respiratory virus - at least well known by everyone that wasnt consumed with paranioa

      1. You read some random blog and seem to think it has the inside track on what everyone thinks, and what is true.

        You tend to be way off base.

    2. This issue is not about CDC guidelines. Someone wants you to wash your hands after handling raw eggs, you don't quote CDC guidelines about how that's not the issue it once was.

      Unless you're working to be really antisocial.

      1. This is probably the crappiest analogy you have ever made Sarc, and that is saying something!

        1. Explain the issue then, don't just insult.

          1. I did. I said you used a crappy analogy. The difference between hand washing when handling contaminated ingredients means you could get yourself or others sick. Masks, outside of an actual respirator like an N-95 or KN-95, have little to no effect on anything that ought to concern you sitting next to a colleague you know is vaccinated and presumably abides by other policies such as not coming to work if sick. Just because Gorsuch won't play act his role like a good dancing monkey doesn't mean the press should portray him as some diabolical person who is forcing someone to have to call in from their office down the hall.

            1. So when I said 'This issue is not about CDC guidelines' what did you think I meant?

          2. "Explain the issue then, don't just insult."

            You too, weirdo.

            1. I explained why your take on social interaction was making you a weirdo - you seem to see everything through the lens of 'does this challenge my ideology.'

              That's weird.

      2. Someone wants you to wash your hands after handling raw eggs, you don't quote CDC guidelines about how that's not the issue it once was.

        Ackshully, when the CDC provided the stricter "guidelines" in the first place, it would indeed be appropriate and completely natural to quote their updates to people still working off second-hand renditions of the older stuff. Life is too short to eat dried-out, well-done pork chops.

        1. Citing the CDC to deny someone's request is not the same as merely citing the CDC.

          This is not normal human interaction.

          I think you know that, you're just making a partisan argument.

          Some on here legit do not seem to know that.

          1. Citing the CDC to deny someone's request is not the same as merely citing the CDC.

            The problem of course being that the [prior, ab-sho-lutely scientifically correct] CDC "guidance" was voraciously cited to deny all sorts of requests from people who simply wanted to live their lives undisturbed while employing the same high benefit/cost ratio, common-sense precautions that had been in place their entire lives to reduce spread of respiratory viruses, rather than walking around all day wearing the functional equivalent of a lucky rabbit's foot with ear loops.

            It's a bit rich to now head for the fainting couch when the sanctified source suddenly says something somewhat inconvenient to the prior narrative and people have the temerity to point that out.

            1. You appear to be conflating government policy with individual courtesy.

              I expect you're more functional than attempting that analogy would suggest.

              1. I expect you're more functional than attempting that analogy would suggest.

                Yeah, you have been consuming a lot of BBC. As a colleague once said about the Brits, "I don't think I've ever met another culture that can tell you to fuck off with such exquisite politeness."

                But back to business:

                You appear to be conflating government policy with individual courtesy.

                You and your false choices. Whether or not any given region had a governmental policy behind it, the war cry was quickly taken up by large swaths of individuals employing anything but courtesy (and those very same individuals are the ones most loudly whining about the lack of same by those who don't toe the line). My prior comment stands.

                1. I leave the question of whether that's why I gravitated towards them or whether they have influenced me as an exercise for the reader.

                  (It's the first).

                  I note your whattaboutism, and discard it as a proper rejoinder to my thesis.

                  However, taken on it's own you are *absolutely* correct. Plenty of folks used folks masking protocol as an excuse to be a jerk.

                  And then there was the whole being an ass to Trump folks out to eat. Also awful behavior.

                  Doesn't mean you are free to do the same, or to condone the same from those you agree with. Courtesy is valuable regardless of who else does it. I just read a thing on the Third Crusade and Saladin. Did well by him, for sure!

                  And I still don't think government policy is analyzed under anything like whether it is courteous. That's nonsensical.

  15. If Justice Sotomayor is concerned because she’s in a high-risk group, then it’s probably best that she continues to attend oral arguments remotely regardless of whether the other justices wear masks.

    1. If we're not letting individuals make their own decisions about Covid risk, I guess you're fine with a vaccine mandate, eh?

    2. If anything tells me the justices have a personal belief that they don't give the vaccine much credibility in terms of transmission prevention. If it was the miracle that the minority stated it was the our wise latina should have no problem sitting unmasked right next to her fellow vaccinated justice.

      1. No one thinks the vaccine is a 100% solution to transmissibility.

        This is a strawman. As has been explained to you for the past 3 weeks.

        1. "explained" = "I've typed the same propaganda talking points into this web form for the last three weeks. Why haven't you been convinced that this DNC line is not true yet??????"

          1. No one thinks the vaccine is a 100% solution to transmissibility.

            Why do you keep insisting everyone says that when it is untrue?

            1. Sarcastr0
              January.18.2022 at 11:59 am
              Flag Comment Mute User
              "No one thinks the vaccine is a 100% solution to transmissibility.

              Why do you keep insisting everyone says that when it is untrue?"

              Sarcastro - he keeps making that statement because the actions of those demanding vaccines act like its true.

              1. What would be the difference in actions of those wanting broad vaccine adoption for a 70% vaccine versus a 100% one?

                1. For rational folks, it would significantly step down the shrillness of their demands that everyone must do this so people stop dying.

                  For political opportunists and control freaks, at the very least their shrill demands would sound much more transparent and pretextual.

                  1. Shrillness. Ah yes.

                    Clear metric. Absolutely objective.

                  2. Actually, you've got it 180° backwards. If vaccines were 100% effective, then there would be not much reason to care about what unvaccinated people do once one was vaccinated; unvaccinated people would pose no risk to the vaccinated. (There are still reasons to care, but they're less significant.) Only the unvaccinated would die, and, well, f them.

                    But at 70% effectiveness, it's very important that everyone get vaccinated because unvaccinated people do pose a threat to the vaccinated.

                    1. Except that the vaxes are at best 50% effective after 6 months for delta and alpha, and less than 40% effective after 2 months for omicron.

                    2. David - you using studies that were rendered obsolete back in August

                    3. Joe - only for certain age groups. Vaccines have proven effective against Omicron.

                      And needing a booster is not the same as being ineffective.

                    4. "Vaccines have proven effective against Omicron."
                      Not as far as preventing infections. Name one country in which the vaccines have prevented transmission.
                      In contrast it is easy to name many countries in which the vaccination rates at least seems to diminish the hospitalization and ICU rate.

                    5. If vaccines were 100% effective, then there would be not much reason to care about what unvaccinated people do once one was vaccinated

                      That's a great post-hoc theory, but the original trials alleged very near 100% efficacy and what next ensued was anything but "not much reason to care about what unvaccinated people do."

                      Also, near-perfect efficacy was part of the cost/benefit club wielded to tell people to STFU and stop worrying about potentially severe long-term unintended consequences from mass-adopting a vaccine technology that had never been deployed in any significant level, much less the sort of global scale envisioned here. That campaign would not have garnered nearly as much political will and thus would not have achieved nearly as much traction had the claimed efficacy been significantly lower.

                    6. Not as far as preventing infections. Name one country in which the vaccines have prevented transmission.

                      Joe just said effective.

                      But yeah, the UK found current vaccination effectiveness against hospitalization.
                      In fact, at least one of the pharma companies stood down their plans for an omicron-specific vaccination based on that info, IIRC.

                      LoB - 95% is pretty far from 100% for these population-wide purposes.
                      You're really scornful about early 2021 info not being perfect, and the guidance changing as new info and variants came out.

                    7. 95% is pretty far from 100% for these population-wide purposes.

                      More true for millennials with Excel-grade epidemiological models assuming perfect mixing of a population like little Brownian particles; not true at all for real-world herd immunity thresholds. 100% vaccination of a population at 95% efficacy gives the same result as 95% vaccination of that population at 100% efficacy, and that 5% spread gets even smaller as the population vaccination rate goes down. I'm sure the 2+2=5 crowd will come up with some too-clever rejoinder.

                      You're really scornful about early 2021 info not being perfect, and the guidance changing as new info and variants came out.

                      Again with the fainting couch. After such a campaign of sustained screaming and castigating for those not just blindly swallowing the earlier fear-laced swill, it's going to take a bit more than "oh, well, when we said before we were supremely confident about how you needed to rearrange your life we were sorta wrong and whatever, but boy oh boy do we have it 100% right this time and NOW let's talk about how you REALLY need to rearrange your life" to get much credibility back.

                    8. That's a great post-hoc theory, but the original trials alleged very near 100% efficacy and what next ensued was anything but "not much reason to care about what unvaccinated people do."

                      1) Near 100% is not 100%.
                      2) At the time period you're discussing, many people weren't eligible to be vaccinated (and vaccines weren't always available), so there were plenty of people who wanted to be vaccinated, who planned to be vaccinated, but who weren't yet. They had every reason to be concerned.

                  3. Near 100% is not 100%.

                    It's hard to achieve more of a truism than that -- congratulations. But so what? Do you really want to die on the revisionist hill that there's such a dramatic cliff effect at play here that the powers that be would have been happy-go-lucky with unvaccinated people had the vaccines achieved 100% efficacy, but in actuality did everything in their power and then some to force needles into unwilling arms at the 95+% efficacy originally reported?

        2. Apparently Rachael Maddow though it at one point:

          "Now we know that the vaccines work well enough that the virus stops with every vaccinated person," Maddow said on her show the evening of March 29, 2021.

          "A vaccinated person gets exposed to the virus, the virus does not infect them, the virus cannot then use that person to go anywhere else," she added with a shrug. "It cannot use a vaccinated person as a host to go get more people."

          1. Back in April the CDC was so sure the vaccine would stop transmission it cancelled mask rules for the vaccinated. Has everyone on the left forgotten this? Did it just go down the memory hole in all of 10 months?

          2. March 29, 2021?

            That's not great evidence of current understanding. Don't be foolish.

      2. The vaccine obviously does nothing versus Omicron and its efficacy is way below the advertised 95% for previous variants.

        So we're mandating vaccines for a variant, and there will be future variants, which don't work at all. Why?

        1. Uh "nothing" is apparently keeping people out of the hospital or getting very sick.

          1. Apparent to who? And weird how no other vaccine ever has been described as allowing you to get a less severe case. So we had to revise the vaccine definition to match how this one doesn't work.

            That's a mild case of polio you have there. Thank God that you were vaccinated.

            Everyone I know who has Omicron is vaccinated and almost all boosted. But lets search for a vaccine silver lining right?

            Omicron is less severe not because of the vaccine but because viruses mutate to less severe but more contagious variants over time. Every virus in history has done this without a vaccine.

            But like a juke box stuck on Journey "Don't Stop Believing"

            1. wreck,
              You only have to look at the hospitalization rates and ICU rates, you may brush that off in any one country as just due to the lack of virulence of Omicron. But you would be wrong. If you look at Israel's statistics, you will see that once booster rates reached 40% the ICU rate stopped growing even though the Ro is 2.5

          2. LawTalkingGuy
            January.18.2022 at 11:25 am
            Flag Comment Mute User
            Uh "nothing" is apparently keeping people out of the hospital or getting very sick."

            Law talking - who doesnt try to stay current on science - guy

            Perhaps you should spent some time getting up to speed on the current state of knowledge. Hint - there is vast difference on the effectiveness of the vaccines for the delta and alpha variants vs the omicron variant which is now the dominant strain. current data shows the vaccines are less than 30%-40% effective after only one-two months with only a limited reduction in severity with hospitalizations. but you would know that if you stayed current on the data

            1. "Following the science" was a soooo 2021 talking point. Now we are back to good old fashioned fearmongering by the left.

              1. Y'all pointed out that merely invoking science along was totemic and empty, so people tend to go a bit deeper these days.

                Except now a bunch of those who used to be Covid is just the flu now talk about following the Real Science and pretend they're the latest thing.

            2. The things you find written by some guy on a blog who links to screeds and non-peer reviewed stuff are not "science." You're not doing your own research here; you're just posting made up shit that you want to believe.

  16. Mask don't work. Maybe he could of worn a garlic necklace instead. Why agree to do something stupid?

    1. wreckinball
      January.18.2022 at 11:15 am
      Flag Comment Mute User
      Mask don't work. Maybe he could of worn a garlic necklace instead. Why agree to do something stupid?

      concur -
      As i previously stated, no reason to embrace sotomayer's paranioa

    2. Cour. Te. Sy.

      1. Two. Way. Street.

        1. Yeah, that's not how it works.

          Politeness is not a transaction.

    3. Could have. I know, I know. I've seen it both ways. But Dammit! It's Could HAVE!

  17. “What does it mean that the Chief Justice asked the other justices ‘in someform’?”

    My guess is he can’t actually order any of them to wear masks so he made it known it was a good idea?

  18. Tensions between Justices are nothing new.
    This endless interpretation of everything along politically ideological lines is also nothing new but it's very tiresome. Totenberg's story does not deserve nearly the attention you are giving it.

  19. Gorsuch, Thomas, and Alito are the only people on that court worth a single damn. Barret, and Kavanaugh , if Roberts says it’s ok, will occasionally vote correctly.

    1. You know the constitution didn't enact jjsaz's personal preferences, right?

      1. Exactly, it enacted mine.

  20. The seems to be a lot of leaping going on here.

    Totenberg seems to be taking a swipe at the entire court and slanting her article.

    We don't know if Sotomayor decided to participate remotely because of Gorsuch or if Gorsuch decided not to wear a mask after Sotomayor decided to participate remotely.

    1. I have to agree that this is a lot of gossipy blah-blah over nothing.

  21. Is NPR a gossip rag now? It's rather unprofessional for someone who calls herself a journalist to publish such one-sided, unsourced trash about a non-newsworthy subject.

    Note that we have no information about why Gorsuch chooses to not to wear a mask, for all we know he has some sort of medical condition, or something that gives him strong discomfort.

    1. TwelveInchPianist
      January.18.2022 at 12:04 pm
      Flag Comment Mute User
      "Is NPR a gossip rag now?"

      Everyonce in a while - I will listen to NPR . The are a definitive left wing

    2. I occasionally listen to NPR. They're much more biased than they used to be, while still being a breath of fresh air compared to the MSM, thanks to how far left the MSM have gone.

      But, once I see the words "anonymous source", it's over. After the last 5 years I don't know why anyone still pays attention once those words make an appearance.

      1. 'Nice Polite Republicans' the left now calls NPR.

        I've drifted away since my heyday in like 2000, but I think that's been more me than them.

        1. NPR didn't leave the left, the left just got much more extreme and left it. Their coverage is still basically Radio DNC, but the gripe is now it is not "progressive" enough to satisfy the cultural marxists of that party.

          1. I don't trust you to have a great sense of the relative political motions on the left of the spectrum.

            1. Actually I am pretty sure I do have a good grasp on how far the left has gone. The current rabble make Obama look like a moderate. The Dems, back when they were more of a mainstream party, supported real marriage, even though they believed in affirmative action would have bee appalled by the racism that is becoming "equity", and were sometimes tougher on crime than their Republican counterpart. Now it is hard to find anyone of prominence in the left that is right of AOC. I'm sure you will foist up Machin as your petard here but be careful what you wish for as it wouldn't surprise me if he went over to the Republicans because he is getting beat up so much by his own party these days.

              1. I mean, you haven't even defined what the left means.

                This is your negative partisan affiliation writing opinions; it is not analysis of anything but yourself.

                1. That is some funny psychobabble to try to explain away why your fellow travelers have become so extreme over the last 20 years. Pretty sure my statement rings true and probably hits a little close to home. I'm sure it hurts to think of Obama as a moderate because he would do stuff like say marriage is between a man and a woman and enforce immigration law. But, that is where the left is at these days and it is actually sad as the divergence in political views is driving a wedge into this great country.

                  If you want a preview of the fun times to come though, look at VA. First day in office and the house cleaning starts. I can't even really call it "house cleaning" because that sounds too routine. What the left has done, there and elsewhere, is criminal and must be punished and that punishment is coming.

                  1. The party has moved to the left, but nowhere like what you're seeing. Each side tends to emphasize the other side's fringe. Plus, you in particular love to demonize the left.

                    Obama remains very popular. Good lord, our current President is Joe Biden, as central a Dem as ever did Dem. Harris is many things, but a woman of the left she is not.

                    OTOH, let me tell you about the shibboleth lying about the 2020 election has become on the right.
                    But I also bear in mind that you and yours are loud, and have a lot of control over the GOP, but are hardly the entire Republican electorate.

                    1. And Biden has moved further left since his days as VP. He was previously "tough on crime" and although not outright against affirmative action was hardly its supporter. I would say he now has to operate on what are the "acceptable fringe" of the moderate side of the party, which is still pretty extreme. He is also in a position where he can rely on the bureaucracy to do a lot of his dirty work meaning he can retain his semi-moderate credentials. Give it another few years though and I think the party will be more than happy to do away with Biden, mostly because his politics are going to be outdated and "republican" to what will be the new center of the extreme left democrat party.

                    2. Biden has been a moderate since before I was born. He did not win the primary on his leftist credentials.

                      Declaring that Biden doesn't need to act leftist because the deep state will do it for him is conveniently unfalsifiable.

                      Look at all your opinions and predictions here. This reads like the people who predicted if GWB was reelected liberals would be in camps.

        2. "'Nice Polite Republicans' the left now calls NPR."

          They thought the press corps were in the tank for Trump, too, apparently because they never charged the podium wearing suicide vests during even one press conference.

          Forget "If you're not with us, you're against us."; These days, being with them isn't enough, you've got to be fanatical about it or it doesn't count.

          1. I mean, I could say the same about you when you said NPR got too biased. It's the exact same fact pattern.

            I won't, because I don't jump to conclusions with nearly your alacrity. But that should give you pause in your analysis here.

            1. What? I didn't say NPR got too biased. I said that they're biased, but these days they're a breath of fresh air compared to the MSM.

              Which is kind of the exact opposite of being too biased, I should think.

        3. I started looking elsewhere in that same time frame. I'll never forget when a commentator (maybe Nina Totenberg) went out of her way in the very same segment to refer to the former POTUS as "President Clinton," and the current one as "Mr. Bush." When you can't even hold back the spittle at that level, you've left any hope of objectivity in the dust.

          1. I do buy that kind of pettiness from NPR. Not that they're alone in that, and not that the right isn't quite a bit more...pointed in their choices for appellations.

            I still listen to the occasional Radiolab. And Pop Culture Happy Hour.

            But I've become more a BBC Radio 4 guy these days.

      2. Yeah, NPR's the outfit that ran the fake story about how Fox News' lawyers argued in court that a rational viewer wouldn't believe anything Tucker Carlson says on his show. Half the MSM parrots that now.

        1. How is this not the correct characterization of finding his seemingly factual statements were reasonably taken as exaggerations for the purpose of commentary?

          Seems to me like it's saying Tucker's statements should not be taken as factual, even if they are presented as such. What did NPR get wrong about that?

          I don't know if I agree with that opinion, actually. Plenty of people take Carlson, and Maddow, and even like the Daily Show as truth, whether they intend it or not.

          1. "How is this not the correct characterization of finding his seemingly factual statements were reasonably taken as exaggerations for the purpose of commentary?"

            Fox News correctly claimed that a particular statement, "Now that sounds like a classic case of extortion." was in context not a factual statement about the law, but a hyperbolic political comment. This was clear from the context of Tucker's remarks.

            NPR falsely claimed that Fox News' lawyers said that "you can't expect to literally believe the words that come out of Carlson's mouth..." in a general sense.

            1. The decision, from what I read, was not so limited to analyze only that individual statement; it characterized the entire show.

              I haven't seen the briefs, but I don't expect that came out of nowhere.

              There is a similar opinion about Maddow's show somewhere out there as well, IIRC.

              1. "I haven't seen the briefs, but I don't expect that came out of nowhere."

                I have read the brief, that's why I made the comment. They did come out of nowhere. And in any event, the judge's opinion with respect to statements not in the case is dicta.

                But NPR is big boys, and they know how to check a cite. But this was too good to check.

    3. My hypothesis is that article such as this (and other non-news similar jabs) are just part of the media strategy to discredit the court if/when they come down against the sacred cow of Roe and probably secondary, if they rule you have a constitutional right to carry a firearm outside of your domicile. That was the whole point of the "shadow docket" trope of articles. Make it look like the court was handing down unreasoned decisions contrary to existing precedent and law because of slipshod legal work being conducted. This worked, at least for a little while, until the court said "fine let's just put it all on the rocket docket instead....hope Supreme Court practitioners don't like holidays, weekends, and evenings ever again....sorry 'bout that!"

  22. This is the problem when a reporter transparently allows her personal bias to influence her reporting, as Totenberg has done. Even if the reader shares her bias he or she is left wondering about the factual reliability of her reporting.

    1. She should take a look at Marcia Coyle and Jan Crawford.

  23. Prof. Adler:

    Why do you stick with this archaic, White, male, right-wing blog, which has become a magnet for bigots and dopes?

    Prof. Blackman and Volokh seem to enjoy lathering the racists, misogynists, gay-bashers, Muslim-haters, xenophobes, and belligerently ignorant clingers who frequent these discussions, but you do not. Prof. Blackman and Volokh seem focused on "owning the libs" at the expense of integrity and principles, but you do not.

    You are and deserve better than this (as is and does Case Western).

    1. "magnet for bigots and dopes?"

      You know that magnet is working when AK shows up to comment.

      Either he is just a bot or is a person who lacks any type of self awareness.

  24. If any of the Justices are afraid of COVID they should logically stay home and remote in instead of engaging in mask theater.

    They're not elementary schoolers. They won't be suspended with a note to their parents for not coming in.

    1. And if the wise latina does not feel comfortable working closely with her fellow vaccinated colleagues then why in the world does she think the federal government has any type of rational basis to mandate the vaccine under the guise of workplace safety???? That is the question the author of the article really ought to be tackling and asking.

  25. Science does not change in the halls of SCOTUS any more than 5 people in robes can declare immorality moral.

  26. Based on this report, however, I am not certain that is what happened. There may be more to the story.

    What could there be?

  27. I surmise that Gorsuch not wearing a mask either has very little to do with Sotomayor such as he has trouble breathing and talking while wearing one during argument (something I sympathize with) or, less likely, there are significant personal issues between them that well predate Omicron.

    In any event, I still remember the good old days early in the pandemic when Fauci and others strongly assured us that there was no need for masks as they were ineffective. The "little white lie" to save PPE for medical professionals. I similarly recall in the summer of 2021 when the CDC and Biden administration proudly proclaimed masks were no longer necessary for the vaccinated as vaccinations were so effective in stopping the spread, likely as a means to encourage vaccination among a skeptical public. Apparently now the standard surgical and cloth masks are little more than fashion accessories, and anything less than a N95 or K95 mask is basically worthless. (Don't forget how government leaders and medical professionals additionally implied marching against racism somehow provided covid immunity, but not other conservative legal issues)

    Medical professionals facing a likelihood of exposure to infectious disease have been wearing the higher-quality masks since well before the pandemic began. The science has not changed one iota, rather politics, often informed by practical availability of PPE and treatments, basic human psychology, and raw tribalism and partisanship, has dictated policy.

    I, for one, am fully vaccinated and boosted, and largely wear my masks to assuage the concerns of nervous neighbors, and strongly encourage others to do so, but still oppose most mandates outside of medical settings with people at risk. Much of what we do is not, and never has been, truly dictated by the purported science. Even those who try to do their best in accordance with the science remain largely misinformed, as Sotomayors statement about the number of serious ill children amply demonstrates.

    1. We give short shrift to people who don't want to wear masks assuming, without any factual support, that they always don't want to do so because of a matter of personal taste or convenience. This fails to include people who actually have trouble breathing and/or communicating with a mask on. There are also a small subset of people that can't stand the physical sensation of having something constricting on their face. This is not the majority by far, but it is a significant percentage.

  28. I encourage every law school dean and faculty member to read the comments at the Volokh Conspiracy before deciding whether to hire any additional movement conservatives for faculty positions.

    Hire a conservative, risk being (1) stuck with a disaffected misfit on your faculty and (2) staining your institutional franchise by association with a White, male blog that regularly publishes vile racial slurs and attracts a loathsome audience of half-educated bigots, superstitious gay-bashers, old-timey misogynists, obsolete xenophobes, and disaffected clingers.

  29. Well, this was a very telling comment thread. It's no surprise that people who jump to ad hominem attacks, personal insults, and name calling against someone with whom they disagree can't understand the basic concept of politeness or human decency.

    1. It would be an understatement to claim Nina Totenberg is not remotely an objective source, even without her odd phraseology in her article concerning Roberts' purported request to wear masks.

      It equally likely that Sotomayor decided to work remotely because of so many people in proximity, most of whom were not wearing *properly fitted* N95 masks, and that Gorsuch only then decided he then didn't need to wear a mask as Sotomayor was no longer in the room.

      Sotomayor is old, obese, a diabetic, and apparently very nervous about serious infection despite being fully vaccinated and boosted. Under those conditions, she absolutely *should* work remotely (and be thankful she has that option), even if all the other justices are masked, particularly since all the judges and lawyers were talking for some time with the inevitable risk of masks moving and the talking and heavy breathing increasing the risk of virus spread.

      1. I agree completely, we really don't know the whole story. Say what you want about Totenberg, she is a careful reporter, and I'm certain her language was a function of what she knew to be true, and what she only suspected. I note that no one has been able to point out anything she reported as fact that isn't true.

        But all that is beside the point of my comment. People are arguing here that it is perfectly fine not to be considerate and accommodating to other people. IF Justice Sotomayor did indeed request the other Justices to wear masks, and IF Justice Gorsuch deliberately ignored that request, then he is an inconsiderate jerk for not doing that small thing. Seems obvious to me, but apparently not to many other people here.

        1. " IF Justice Sotomayor did indeed request the other Justices to wear masks, and IF Justice Gorsuch deliberately ignored that request, then he is an inconsiderate jerk for not doing that small thing. "

          I would generally agree, and again assuming Totenberg is generally accurate, situations like this still often don't occur in a vacuum. We certainly aren't privy to the behind the scenes relationships among the justices. We don't know *why* Gorsuch would refuse a request by Sotomayor or Roberts to wear a mask. For instance, Gorsuch may have requested reasonable accommodations from Sotomayor on publicly unknown personal matters which she refused, or he may be experience breathing or other medical issues that make wearing a mask, particularly for a long time while engaging in questioning, difficult or dangerous, and unnecessary when all justices are fully vaccinated and Sotomayor or any other justice has the easy option of participating remotely.

          There's a lot of information about the court and justices that the public does not know, and is not remotely entitled to know. The Totenberg article is little more than salacious (and quite likely partisan) rumor-mongering.

          1. Justice Gorsuch's apparent boorishness will be worn and respected as a badge of pride and honor among the lethally reckless, belligerently ignorant residents of the clingerverse.

            Better Americans are likely to respond differently -- by arranging the opportunity for Justice Gorsuch to spend the remainder of his federal employment authoring an inconsequential series of bitter, seething, fossil-strewn dissents (after enlargement of the Supreme Court).

            Carry on, clingers. So far and so long as your betters permit, that is.

  30. Maybe the article title was not written by Nina Totenberg.
    "Gorsuch didn't mask despite Sotomayor's COVID worries, leading her to telework"

    Totenberg did write: "Chief Justice John Roberts, understanding that, in some form asked the other justices to mask up."

    Supposedly,
    _ Chief Justice Roberts suggested the other justices begin wearing masks to arguments
    _ Justice Sotomayor did not ask Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask
    _ Justice Gorsuch has not received a requirement to wear a mask
    _ All the justices including Gorsuch are vaccinated and have had their booster shots
    _ The justices are tested for COVID before they take to the bench to hear arguments

    Before the Omicron variant hit the scene, Sotomayor was the only justice wearing a mask to hear arguments.

    Maybe, because Sotomayor is vulnerable to COVID due to her diabetes, she does not want to be around persons other than the other justices, outside persons who may not be vaccinated or tested even if they are wearing symbolic masks? Maybe she would still be teleworking even if Gorsuch wore a mask.

    There is so much assumption from appearances going on here. I don't think we can honestly assume that Sotomayor decided to telework because Gorsuch refused to wear a mask.

  31. This is gossip. We have no basis for believing that Justice Sottomeyor’s decision not to be in court in person was caused by Justice Gorsuch’s prior decision not to wear a mask. For all we know Justice Gorsuch’s decision not to wear a mask resulted from by Justice Sottomeyor’s prior decision not to attend in person, which may have freed him feom a sense of obligation he might otherwise perceived.

    The tendency to assume you know who caused what based solely on which person you like and which you don’t is all too telling here. We don’t actually have any idea what happened here.

    Shame on Nina Tottenberg, who ought to know better and supposedly represents informed commentary, for rushing to conclusions like this. She hasn’t given any evidentiary basis for them.

    Would you want your freedom or your life to be decided based on a chain of inference this flimsy?

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