Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Stephen Breyer did not attend today’s inauguration for President Biden because of public health risks posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the public information officer.
Justices Alito, Thomas and Breyer are also the oldest members of the court, respectively, at 70, 72 and 82.
Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sonia Sotomayor administered the swearing ins of President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
Sotomayor, who suffers from diabetes, has been extremely careful. When she appeared publicly for Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s memorial, she wore a mask and a face shield.
Some of the justices have been working in chambers during the pandemic, although others have been participating from their homes. Justice Breyer, for example, has done some speaking appearances via zoom from his home In Boston.
At the time of Ginsburg’s memorial and a closed-door welcome for Barrett, the court was extremely strict about masks, according to two sources. This departs from the other branches of government.
The justices have continued to conduct oral arguments and regular conferences by phone.