Oct 3, 2020
The Guardian – Senate Republicans are facing a shrinking window of time before the November 3 election to confirm Donald Trump’s supreme court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, following the news that at least three Republican senators have tested positive for the coronavirus and more are quarantining after likely exposure.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader and Republican from Kentucky, on Saturday morning said he would seek consent from Democrats to cancel any action on the main floor of the Senate for the next two weeks, until 19 October.
But the Senate judiciary committee, which must vote on the nomination first, will still convene as planned on 12 October to begin the confirmation hearing process for Barrett, he said.
While senators have attended recent hearings remotely, Democrats have said there is bipartisan opposition for allowing them to do so for something as high profile as a supreme court nomination that could determine the ideological tilt of the court.
In a letter on Saturday, top Democrats on the committee said that 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”. Many of the senators on the committee are older and have other risk factors for Covid-19.
Republicans are trying to advance Barrett’s nomination as quickly as possible to replace the court’s progressive champion Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last month.
Republican leaders are concerned that if they lose their majority in the Senate in the November election, and if Trump loses the White House, it will be harder to confirm a conservative nominee during the lame-duck session before former vice president Joe Biden could enter office in January 2021.
Utah senator Mike Lee and North Carolina senator Thom Tillis, both of whom sit on the judiciary panel, tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday … Read more.