Senate Republicans Plan to Forge Ahead With Confirmation Hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett Next Week
Do you think the Senate Judiciary Committee should hold Barrett’s confirmation hearings next week?
by Causes | 10.5.20
What’s the story?
- Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) officially scheduled confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett to succeed the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on the Supreme Court.
- The first day of hearings, which will feature opening statements, will begin at 9:00am EDT on Monday, October 12th. The hearings will be hybrid in nature, with senators able to ask their questions remotely if they prefer. For in-person attendees, there will be additional physical distancing on the dais, senators will be limited to one aide in the room, the nominee’s family will be given their own seating section, and press presence in the room will be far smaller than at past confirmation hearings.
- The announcement comes after three Republican senators announced that they tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) last week. Two of the three ― Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) ― are members of the Judiciary Committee which consider Barrett’s nomination. Due to their illness, GOP leaders postponed floor votes until October 19th at the earliest, unless there is a deal reached on coronavirus relief legislation.
- Republicans have indicated that Thursday, October 22nd may be the day the committee advances Barrett’s nomination to the floor. If senators are still ill and unable to attend in person, they can vote by proxy (assuming their vote doesn’t change the outcome), or the committee can forego a vote as it did during the confirmation of Justice Clarence Thomas while still allowing the nomination to reach the floor.
- Since the passing of Justice Ginsburg, Democrats have opposed efforts by President Donald Trump and Senate Republicans to fill the vacancy and have used the recent cases of coronavirus in the Senate to reiterate their calls for delay.
- Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a Sunday press conference that, “A virtual hearing is virtually no hearing at all,” and on Monday the Democratic leader tweeted an accusation that Republicans are “contemplating marching COVID-stricken members to the Senate to rush through a nominee” as part of a “reckless Supreme Court process”.
- One of the “COVID-stricken members” Schumer tweeted about eagerly expressed his willingness to vote for the nominee on the floor. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) joked that he’s so eager to confirm the nominee, he will “go in a moon suit” to vote in the chamber if he’s still testing positive when the nomination reaches the floor.
- For his part, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) tweeted that Democrats are doing and saying anything they can to delay the confirmation process, and chided them for their sudden opposition to hybrid hearings:
“Democrats say they’ll try everything to stall Judge Barrett. The latest excuse: Hybrid hearings with some virtual participation are suddenly bad. The Senate has held 150 of these hybrid hearings since May. Democrats have taken advantage of the tools. They’ve praised the format.”
— Eric Revell
(Photo Credit: Mark Fischer via Flickr / Creative Commons)
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