The coronavirus infects the Supreme Court hearing as 2 Senate Judiciary Committee senators test positive for COVID-19 and Chuck Schumer calls for a halt

  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said it would be "irresponsible and dangerous" to move with the hearing for Trump's Supreme Court pick after two Senate Judiciary Committee tested positive for COVID-19.
  • Senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, both Republicans, revealed on Friday that they had tested positive for the virus, after President Trump announced his diagnosis.
  • Both Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Lindsay Graham indicated the process would move forward as expected after Lee revealed his diagnosis, but have not commented since Tillis'.
  • Barrett's hearing is expected to start on October 12, and her confirmation would shift the court sharply to the right.
  • Democrats wanted Republicans to hold off on appointing a new judge until after the presidential election, which was the dying wish of Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg.
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Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said that it would be "irresponsible and dangerous" to push forward with a hearing for President Donald Trump's Supreme Court pick after two members of the Senate Judiciary Committee tested positive for COVID-19.

"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," Schumer wrote. 

"It is irresponsible and dangerous to move forward with a hearing, and there is absolutely no good reason to do so."

Senators Thom Tillis and Mike Lee, both Republicans, said on Friday that they had tested positive for the virus.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell signaled on Friday that he still intends to hold a vote on Barrett's nomination before the presidential election.

He said the process would happen "very soon."

His comment came after Lee announced his diagnosis, but before Tillis went public. 

Barrett's hearing is expected to start on October 12. 

Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican and the Senate Judiciary Committee's chairperson, tweeted on Friday night that he is looking "forward to the hearing for Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Oct. 12."

And he said that "Any Senator who wants to participate virtually will be allowed to do so."

 

Like McConnell,  his comment came after Lee announced his diagnosis, but before Tillis revealed his.

The senators' announcements came after President Donald Trump revealed his positive coronavirus test. Trump is now in hospital for treatment and monitoring.

Democrats had wanted Republicans to hold off on appointing a new Supreme Court judge until a new president takes office, which was the dying wish of Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, whose death in September left the vacant seat on the court.

McConnel argued in 2016 that a then-vacant seat in the court should not be filled until after the presidential election.

He said then: "The American people should have a voice in the selection of their next Supreme Court Justice. Therefore, this vacancy should not be filled until we have a new president."

Trump announced on September 26 that he was nominating Barrett.

More than 1.4 million people have signed a petition calling for Ginsburg's seat not to be filled until after the 2021 presidential inauguration.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren also called for the process to pause after the senators' test results.

"Two Senate Judiciary Committee members tested positive for COVID-19 today. We don't know when we'll know just how many people have been infected. The Senate cannot safely proceed on the Supreme Court nomination. We must focus on containing this virus to protect members and staff," she said.

 

Barrett is an anti-abortion conservative and her nomination would shift the Supreme Court to the right, giving conservatives a 6-3 majority on the court.

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