The fight over the procedure for the scheduled confirmation hearings for Judge Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court is in full swing. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) are doing their best attempt at gaslighting Americans into believing that confirming Judge Barrett poses a public safety threat.
Two GOP Senators on the committee recently tested positive for coronavirus, but Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-SC) made it clear that the committee is well-equipped to conduct hearings safely. The committee has held hybrid hearings for the past few months as a coronavirus precaution. Sens. Schumer and Feinstein know this, but contend that a virtual hearing for a Supreme Court nominee is insufficient.
"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...there is bipartisan agreement that a virtual confirmation hearing for a lifetime appointment to the federal bench is not an acceptable substitute,” the pair of Senators said in a release.
The "bipartisan agreement" that Sens. Schumer and Feinstein point to is virtually nonexistent. Republicans are overwhelmingly united behind Judge Barrett's exemplary record, and Chairman Graham has laid out a safe path forward for her confirmation proceedings. Leader McConnell corrected the record, and reminded his Democrat colleagues that they previously praised the committee’s hybrid hearings.
Democrats say they’ll try everything to stall Judge Barrett. The latest excuse: Hybrid hearings with some virtual participation are suddenly bad.— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) October 5, 2020
The Senate has held 150 of these hybrid hearings since May. Democrats have taken advantage of the tools. They’ve praised the format.
MCCONNELL: Senate committees have had 150 hybrid hearings since the pandemic began.— Senate Republican Communications Center (@SRCC) October 5, 2020
We have been using these processes for months. Just yesterday, the ranking member of the Rules Committee, Senator Klobuchar reminded the country that she helped set them up.
Schumer and Feinstein continued to make their real opposition to Judge Barrett’s confirmation clear: her jurisprudence. They also repeat the exhausted talking point pushed by Democrats, claiming that Judge Barrett's nomination process is "illegitimate."
“All circuit court nominees have appeared in person during the pandemic, and there is far more at stake for the American people with this Supreme Court nomination, including the Affordable Care Act being struck down and more than 7 million COVID survivors being denied health coverage,” they continue. "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.”
Democrats’ opposition to Judge Barrett’s confirmation hearings has minimal to do with coronavirus concerns, and much to do with opposition to confirming a well-qualified textualist to the high court.