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Justice Sotomayor didn’t attend dinner with Democratic leadership

January 9, 2022 GMT

CLAIM: U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor dined with Democratic congressional leadership at a restaurant on Friday.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The claim is based on inaccurate reporting from Politico, which has since issued a correction. The news outlet erroneously reported on Saturday that Sotomayor attended the dinner, but later said it had mistakenly identified Iris Weinshall, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s wife, as Sotomayor.

THE FACTS: Posts falsely claiming that Sotomayor dined with Democratic politicians on Friday continued to spread on social media Sunday, despite the source of the claim retracting it a day earlier.

Users pointed out that Sotomayor had attended court remotely earlier in the day, during oral arguments over the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine rules for private employers and health care workers.

“‘Justice Sotomayor, who participated in yesterday’s SCOTUS arguments remotely from her chambers, seen last night at Le Diplomate with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Sens. Klobuchar and Durban, per Politico,’” said one Saturday Facebook post that has garnered 83,000 views and was still circulating on Sunday. “They are all laughing at us.”

The claim also circulated on Twitter. One user wrote on Sunday morning that Sotomayor was “having dinner with Schummer, Pelosi amongst others after the first day of hearing the challenge to Vax mandates.”

Politico made the false claim in its Playbook newsletter on Saturday morning, linking to a photo that appears to show several of the politicians sitting at a table at a restaurant. But it posted a correction later that day, stating it had “erroneously placed Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor dining with Democratic leaders at a Washington restaurant Friday night.” The correction goes on to state that its source “mistook Iris Weinshall, wife of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, for the justice.”

A spokesperson for Schumer confirmed to The Associated Press that Sotomayor was not in attendance at the dinner.

The U.S. Supreme Court’s public information office did not immediately respond to the AP’s requests for comment.

Sotomayor remotely attended court on Friday to hear arguments over the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine or testing requirement for large employers, as well as a vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. Sotomayor, who is diabetic, didn’t appear in the courtroom, and chose to stay in her office at the court and participate remotely.

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This is part of AP’s effort to address widely shared misinformation, including work with outside companies and organizations to add factual context to misleading content that is circulating online. Learn more about fact-checking at AP.