Democrats in the Senate have been on a mission to use the coronavirus diagnosis of President Donald Trump to delay the confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to The Supreme Court.
Senate Minority Leader and New York Sen. Charles Schumer was chief among those calling for a delay, but Senate Majority Leader and Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell ended the speculation on that idea quick, The Western Journal reported.
As high-profile cases of coronavirus continue to crop up from the White House to Capitol Hill, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is doubling down on expedited efforts to confirm U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court.
The Kentucky Republican assured American political audiences via Twitter on Friday morning that the Senate would soldier on with the confirmation process at “full steam ahead,” despite President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 diagnosis.
“We now have two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who have tested positive for COVID, and there may be more. I wish my colleagues well. It is irresponsible and dangerous to move forward with a hearing, and there is absolutely no good reason to do so,” Sen. Schumer said on Twitter.
We now have two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee who have tested positive for COVID, and there may be more. I wish my colleagues well.
It is irresponsible and dangerous to move forward with a hearing, and there is absolutely no good reason to do so.
— Chuck Schumer (@SenSchumer) October 3, 2020
The Democrats in the Senate Judiciary Committee also penned a letter to the chairman, Republican South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, calling for a delay.
“As United States Senators and members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, we have the responsibility to protect this nation and the American people. That includes our fellow Senators, Judge Barrett and her family, our staffs, and the men and women who keep the Senate complex safe, clean, and operational. At least two members of this Committee have already contracted COVID-19, and several other members were in close proximity. As you are aware, the CDC has advised that individuals “[s]tay home for 14 days after [ ] last contact with a person who has COVID-19,” even if those individuals “test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy,” the senators said.
“To proceed at this juncture with a hearing to consider Judge Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court threatens the health and safety of all those who are called upon to do the work of this body.
“Further, holding a remote hearing for a Supreme Court nomination is not an adequate substitute. As Republican members of this Committee have recognized, questioning nominees by video is ineffective and ignores the gravity of our constitutional duty to provide advice and consent on lifetime appointments, particularly those to the nation’s highest court.
“More importantly, though, moving forward with Judge Barrett’s hearing is a disservice to the American public. Nearly 210,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 and more than 7 million Americans have been infected — every one of them a COVID survivor who could be denied health coverage if the Affordable Care Act is struck down. Millions of Americans have lost their jobs and millions of children cannot attend school in-person,” they said.
But the pushback was immediate from Sens. McConnell and Graham.
“The Senate’s floor schedule will not interrupt the thorough, fair, and historically supported confirmation process previously laid out by Chairman Graham,” Sen. McConnell noted.
“The committee has utilized this format successfully for many months while protecting the health and safety of all involved,” he said of having senators participate via video and in person.
“Certainly all Republican members of the committee will participate in these important hearings,” he said.
On Twitter Sen. Graham said “I feel fine and look forward to the hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 12. Any Senator who wants to participate virtually will be allowed to do so.”
I feel fine and look forward to the hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 12.
Any Senator who wants to participate virtually will be allowed to do so.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) October 2, 2020