President Donald Trump and Republican Utah Sen. Mike Lee announced they both tested positive for the coronavirus Friday, prompting some Democrats to push for a delay in Senate hearings for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein issued a joint statement Friday that said a hearing for Judge Barrett should be delayed following Lee’s positive test results due to the possibility that he could’ve infected other Senators. (RELATED: REPORT: President Trump Experiencing ‘Mild’ Symptoms After Contracting Coronavirus)
“The unfortunate news about the infection of our colleague Senator Mike Lee makes even more clear that health and safety must guide the schedule for all Senate activities, including hearings,” the statement read. “In addition, there is bipartisan agreement that a virtual confirmation for a lifelong appointment to the federal bench is not an acceptable substitute.”
Feinstein reiterated this sentiment in a tweet Friday.
“It’s critical that Chairman Graham put the health of senators, the nominee and staff first – and ensure a full and fair hearing that is not rushed, not truncated, and not virtual. Otherwise this already illegitimate process will become a dangerous one.”
It’s critical that Chairman Graham put the health of senators, the nominee and staff first – and ensure a full and fair hearing that is not rushed, not truncated, and not virtual. Otherwise this already illegitimate process will become a dangerous one.https://t.co/Q71XlWNGMW
— Senator Dianne Feinstein (@SenFeinstein) October 2, 2020
In a separate statement, Schumer said everyone who’s had contact with the president should quarantine, including Judge Barrett.
“The infection of the President, First Lady and a close aide require that the White House immediately conduct a contact tracing regime that follows CDC guidelines, as well as thorough testing and isolation for those who were exposed to infection risk,” his statement read. “That includes Judge Amy Coney Barrett and anyone she was in contact with.”
Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Barrett are reportedly set to begin Oct. 12. However, if the president’s contacts are forced to quarantine for the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC) guideline of 14 days, Judge Barrett and potentially other Senators who’ve had contact with either Trump or Lee would be unable to attend the hearings.
Their call for a delay comes one day after Feinstein had already formally asked Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham to delay the confirmation of Judge Barrett until after the election after Graham committed to a hearing schedule.
“The timeline for consideration of Judge Barrett’s nomination is incompatible with the Senate’s constitutional role,” Feinstein said in a letter. “We again urge you to delay consideration of this nomination until after the presidential inauguration. The Senate and the American public deserve a deliberative, thorough process, and this falls far short.”
However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a tweet Friday the Senate will move forward with the confirmation hearings.
“Just finished a great phone call with @POTUS. He’s in good spirits and we talked business – especially how impressed Senators are with the qualifications of Judge Barrett. Full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, timely process that the nominee, the Court & the country deserve.”
Just finished a great phone call with @POTUS. He’s in good spirits and we talked business — especially how impressed Senators are with the qualifications of Judge Barrett. Full steam ahead with the fair, thorough, timely process that the nominee, the Court, & the country deserve.
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) October 2, 2020