Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts confirmed Wednesday that he did not ask Neil Gorsuch "or any other justices" to wear masks on the bench.
"I did not request Justice Gorsuch or any other Justice to wear a mask on the bench," Roberts said in a statement issued by the Supreme Court.
The rare public statement from the chief justice follows an earlier statement by the Supreme Court, which confirmed that Justice Sonia Sotomayor did not ask Gorsuch to wear a mask during oral argument proceedings.
"Reporting that Justice Sotomayor asked Justice Gorsuch to wear a mask surprised us. It is false," the Supreme Court wrote in a statement. "While we may sometimes disagree about the law, we are warm colleagues and friends."
The dual statements on Wednesday came amid reports from several outlets, including NPR, which cited unnamed court sources claiming Sotomayor did not feel safe in close proximity to unmasked people, noting that the justice has diabetes and has recently been participating remotely. All nine justices are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, and all but Gorsuch, who sits adjacent to Sotomayor, wear masks during hearings.
SUPREME COURT DENIES THAT SOTOMAYOR ASKED GORSUCH TO WEAR A MASK
A court spokeswoman said Wednesday that Sotomayor would continue to participate remotely from her chambers for the remainder of the week, according to a tweet from New York Times Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak.
Notably, NPR reporter Nina Totenberg's article never claimed Sotomayor asked Gorsuch to wear a mask. Rather, the article suggested Roberts acknowledged Sotomayor's concerns about COVID-19 transmission.
"Chief Justice John Roberts, understanding that, in some form asked the other justices to mask up," Totenberg wrote.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
"NPR stands behind Nina Totenberg's reporting," the news organization's spokesman, Ben Fishel, told the Washington Examiner on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court's statement prompted some journalists to raise skepticism online over the matter, including Elie Mystal, who tweeted, "The report was that Roberts asked him to wear a mask, not Sotomayor. So… I don’t get this statement."