No, a Schmuck Has a Head
Neil Gorsuch who argued that a company should require its employees to freeze to death, is refusing to wear a mask at Supreme Court Session, forcing Sonia Sotomayor to sign in remotely, because as a diabetic, she is at high risk to Covid complications.
Even by the standards of the late Antonin Scalia, who choked to death on his own bile, this is totally repugnant behavior:
Famously, during his contentious confirmation hearings, then-Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch was dogged by then-Senator Al Franken about an opinion that Gorsuch had handed down against a truck driver who had been fired after abandoning his busted truck on a frigid night so he wouldn’t freeze to death. The court had decided in favor of the trucker. Gorsuch had dissented. From CNN:
“I don’t think you’d want to be on the road with him, would you judge?” Franken asked.
“Senator, um,” Gorsuch stammered.
“You would or not? It’s a really easy: ‘Yes’ or ‘no?’” he pressed.
Gorsuch dissented in the decision: “It might be fair to ask whether TransAm’s decision was a wise or kind one,” he wrote. “But it’s not our job to answer questions like that. Our only task is to decide whether the decision was an illegal one.”
Points of law aside, it was impossible to come to any conclusion other than, “Jesus, what a schmuck.”
No, as I have noted in the hed, a schmuck has a head. (A שמוק also has a foreskin, but I’m not going to write about the finer points of Yiddish right now)
The spirit of the truck-driver case has swirled around the chamber recently. Chief Justice John Roberts has sought to enact COVID protocols, including mask-wearing. There are a number of good and obvious reasons for this, but in particular, it was a concession to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is diabetic and therefore particularly vulnerable to COVID. All the justices have complied. Except one. Let NPR’s Nina Totenberg tell you which one.
…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.
I don’t know whether Gorsuch is just trying to make things unpleasant for Sotomayor to amuse himself, or if he’s actually hoping to kill her, but either way, he is the epitome of the moral bankruptcy that is at the core of the both the of the Republican Party and the Federalist Society.