Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the subsequent nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to replace her, Senate Democrats made it clear that they would use every tool at their disposal to try and delay or prevent her from being confirmed prior to the election.
Now, seizing on the news of a coronavirus outbreak among a few Republican senators, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is hoping to get the hearings canceled altogether — at least until after the election. Holding a hearing would be ” irresponsible and dangerous” due to COVID, he tweeted on Saturday.
Schumer: “No good reason” to hold hearing
Schumer’s partisan expression of faux concern came in the wake of the news that Sens. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, had recently tested positive for the coronavirus, Breitbart reported.
On Friday, Schumer tweeted, “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,” he added.
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
Later, following the news that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) had called a two-week recess for the Senate — which doesn’t necessarily impact committee business — Schumer tweeted several more times on Saturday and Sunday variations of the phrase: “If it’s too dangerous to have the Senate in session, it’s too dangerous for committee hearings.”
Hearings will proceed as scheduled
As the Minority Leader, however, Schumer has no real control over what the Senate does and doesn’t do, and can do little more than state his feelings and hope that he can convince his Republican colleagues to feel the same way — which seems highly unlikely at this time.
In fact, Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) has indicated that he intends to press forward with the confirmation process for Judge Barrett, regardless of Democrat complaints and demands for delays.
On Friday, Graham shared a statement from Lee and strongly implied that he would welcome him back from quarantine on October 12, the scheduled start of Barrett’s confirmation hearings.
Later that evening, as part of a thread of tweets noting that he had tested negative for the virus, Graham basically shut down Schumer’s supposed concern over health and safety by noting, “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.”
In other words, there will be hearings for Judge Barrett and she will most likely be confirmed, whether Schumer and his comrades like it or not, and there is nothing they can do to stop it from happening.