Legal experts blast ‘jerk Gorsuch’ for refusing to wear a mask – forcing Sotomayor to stay in chambers
During the Supreme Court's oral arguments on the Biden administration's vaccine or test mandate in certain workplaces earlier this month some court observers noted every justice was masked – except one: Neil Gorsuch. They also noticed that Justice Sonia Sotomayor was participating from her chambers via telephone, while her co-workers were seated as usual on the bench.
"Sotomayor has diabetes, a condition that puts her at high risk for serious illness, or even death, from COVID-19," NPR reported Tuesday. "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," NPR's Nina Totemberg noted. "Except Gorsuch, who, as it happens, sits next to Sotomayor on the bench."
Public outcry was swift, and it includes legal experts:
"As a member of the Supreme Ct bar, I condemn in the strongest terms possible Justice Gorsuch refusing to wear a mask to protect his high risk colleague, Justice Sotomayor, from being killed by Covid," wrote Richard Signorelli, a civil and criminal litigation attorney and former Asst. U.S. Attorney. "Shame on him."
Constitutional law scholar and Harvard University Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe, who has argued before the Supreme Court 36 times, called Justice Gorsuch a "jerk."
"Gorsuch’s refusal to mask up on the bench even when asked by the Chief Justice to do so in order that the diabetic and hence immunocompromised Justice Sotomayor could attend in person shows just what kind of jerk Gorsuch is," Tribe tweeted. He added he wished Gorsuch were not an alumnus of Harvard Law.
"Personally, I feel like we’re entitled to expect our Supreme Court justices to be better role models," wrote former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, now a well-known MSNBC and NBC News legal analyst and law professor. "Or, at least, to have an ounce of decency. Putting on a mask would have cost Gorsuch nothing, but then he didn’t care about risk to front line workers, either," she noted subtly, after the conservative Court voted 6-3 to block OSHA's vaccine or test mandate.
USA Today columnist Connie Schultz quoted Dahlia Lithwick, an attorney and author of "Supreme Court Dispatches" and "Jurisprudence," from Lithwick's Slate column:
“The real problem with the court’s masks-optional policy? It reflects the court’s much larger rules-optional policy on everything pertaining to judicial conduct.” - @Dahlialithwick https://t.co/B8mZKymjaP
— Connie Schultz (@ConnieSchultz) January 18, 2022
"Gorsuch should be the one who is forced to isolate, not Sotomayor," notes NBC News and MSNBC Legal Contributor Katie S. Phang.
Legal journalist Cristian Farias, a former New York Times editorial writer last week commented on Gorsuch and his refusal to wear a mask:
A couple of years ago, Neil Gorsuch wrote a whole book lamenting the loss of civility in public life. In it, he quotes a rule George Washington is said to have learned as a child: “Bedew no man’s face with your spittle, by approaching too near him when you speak.” Kid you not. https://t.co/Aicgtcolh5
— Cristian Farias (@cristianafarias) January 11, 2022
An app all attendees of the upcoming Beijing Olympics must use has encryption flaws that could allow personal information to leak, a cyber security watchdog said Tuesday.
The "simple but devastating flaw" in the encryption of the MY2022 app, which is used to monitor Covid and is mandatory for athletes, journalists and other attendees of the games in China's capital, could allow health information, voice message and other data to leak, warned Jeffrey Knockel, author of the report for Citizen Lab.
Citizen Lab notified the Chinese organizing committee for the Games of the issues in early December and gave them 15 days to respond and 45 days to fix the problem, but received no reply.
"China has a history of undermining encryption technology to perform political censorship and surveillance," Knockel wrote.
"As such, it is reasonable to ask whether the encryption in this app was intentionally sabotaged for surveillance purposes or whether the defect was born of developer negligence," he continued, adding that "the case for the Chinese government sabotaging MY2022's encryption is problematic."
The flaws affect SSL certificates, which allow online entities to communicate securely. In one case, MY2022 doesn't authenticate SSL certificates, meaning other parties could access the app's data, while another sees data transmitted without the usual encryption SSL certificates have.
Knockel said that while the app is transparent about medical information it collects as part of China's efforts to screen Covid-19 cases, "it is unclear with whom or which organization(s) it shares this information."
MY2022 also contains a list called "illegalwords.txt" of "politically sensitive" phrases in China, many of which relate to China's political situation or its Tibetan and Uighur Muslim minorities.
These include keywords like "CCP evil" and Xi Jinping, China's president, though Knockel said it was unclear if the list was being actively used of censorship purposes.
Because of these features, the app may violate both Google and Apple policies around smartphone software, and "also China's own laws and national standards pertaining to privacy protection, providing potential avenues for future redress," he wrote.
© 2022 AFP
MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell told Business Insider that two banks told him to "leave their bank."
Lindell shared a telephone recording with a man he identified as Tom Cardle, a senior vice president at Minnesota Bank & Trust, warning of "reputation risk."
Lindell, who says he has spent $25 million pushing Trump's "big lie" of election fraud, wonders if there might be a conspiracy afoot.
"These guys have an agenda. There's something wrong, or they would have done something before," Lindell said. "They would have done something last year or a year ago."
The other bank is Heartland Financial USA.
"Why did they wait until now?" Lindell wondered. "There's something behind this, and we can't let everyone get debanked in our country."
Business Insider reported Lindell floated a theory that "somebody got to them."
Read the full report.